Wearing large, round sunglasses and hair pushed back with a headband, a nearly unrecognizable Gretchen Ritter ’83, the Harold Tanner Dean of Arts and Sciences, greeted the Arts and Sciences staff at their annual staff picnic May 31, via recorded video, using as many parts of Grateful Dead lyrics as she could pack into her words of appreciation. The staff, many sporting tie-dyed T-shirts and ribbons, flowers and medallions, contributed equally to the ’60s theme of this year’s event.
“I am the peace, love and harmony dean,” Ritter announced, noting the Grateful Dead’s appearance at Cornell in the ’70s. Ritter’s words of wisdom as she looks to step down from the deanship this month? For the picnic, a sampling from the Dead: “When life looks like easy street, there is danger at your door … Nothin’ left to do but smile, smile, smile …”
David Taylor, associate dean of administration, thanked the 400-some staffers for their work this past year and the picnic committee members, led by co-chairs Ellen Harris and Chris Capalongo. After the chicken barbeque, staffers participated in games popular in the ’60s: a hula-hoop contest, badminton, dart toss and hopscotch.