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Joy Wagner, longtime assistant to Rhodes, to be remembered July 27

Marjorie Joy Wagner was something of an institution at Cornell – she served two presidents, including President Emeritus Frank H.T. Rhodes from 1977 until her death March 28.

Wagner, a beloved member of the Cornell community, will be remembered at a memorial service July 27, at 5 p.m. in Stewart Park, Ithaca. The event will be held a day before what would have been her 87th birthday.

“Joy was my trainer, my mentor; she was just one of most giving, caring people I ever met,” said longtime friend Pat Podufalski, who began at Cornell as a temporary employee in 1977 during the presidential transition from Dale Corson to Rhodes.

Wagner began her half-century at Cornell in 1967 as senior administrative secretary and administrative aide to then-provost Corson, with whom she stayed when Corson became president in 1969. She remained in the president’s office when Rhodes’ tenure began eight years later, and stayed with Rhodes when he moved to Snee Hall to continue his geological sciences research and scholarship upon his retirement as president June 30, 1995.

She was recognized for her 50 years of service at a campus event June 5, 2018.

“She helped guide me through many of life’s challenges,” said Marcia Parks, a friend of Wagner and assistant in the office of John Siliciano, deputy provost and professor of law. “Her unwavering dedication … her extensive knowledge of this university and its history, her generosity and kindness toward many, both human and four-legged, will be her lasting legacy.”

– Tom Fleischman 

Media Contact

Rebecca Valli