Cornell’s Virtual Reunion will be a celebration for all classes this year, as a way to bring the global community of Cornellians together.
Alumni Affairs and Development (AAD), working with representatives from Reunion classes and Cornell’s colleges, professional schools and programming units, have organized a variety of offerings June 5-6 – more than 80 events and counting – for Cornell alumni and families to enjoy, with personal touches over the two days for alumni in the “Classes of 0s and 5s.”
Reunion staff and alumni volunteers have also been assisting alumni to ensure they can participate from their homes.
“That’s what makes this different from just another webinar, another Zoom meeting,” said Lisa Bushlow ’91, senior director of class, student and young alumni programs for AAD. “It’s been amazing how people have rallied to want to be part of this.
“Cornellians are resilient. We are creative and innovative. We have enormous spirit,” she said. “Our pivot to holding a Virtual Reunion – and opening it up to all alumni – represents the best of Cornell and the strength of our worldwide community connection.”
Featured events during Virtual Reunion 2020 range from a Cornell trivia game show and a virtual Reunion 5K, to Cornell leaders discussing how they have navigated the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
President Martha E. Pollack, Provost Michael I. Kotlikoff and Dr. Augustine M.K. Choi, the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of Weill Cornell Medicine and Provost for Cornell University Medical Affairs, will share their experiences over the past few months in a conversation, “Leading Cornell During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” June 6 at 11 a.m.
Alumni will bring their Cornell knowledge to the Cornell Trivia Game Show, June 5 from 7-9 p.m., in a battle for class bragging rights. Contestants can bone up by checking out Cornell History Happy Hour with Corey Earle ’07 at live.alumni.cornell.edu. All alumni are invited to tune in.
The Classes of 0s and 5s will have their own virtual happy hours and programs, including a 75th Reunion event for the Class of 1945. They also have their own online playlists, compiled by Reunion staff and classmates, revisiting music from their Cornell years. The Class of 1980 playlist features the Grateful Dead live in Barton Hall in 1977 and disco, soul, pop and rock hits.
Since Reunion is an all-ages affair, several kids’ activities will be available for download, including a Virtual Reunion Bingo card, Athletics activity book and a Dragon Day coloring book. The Reunion Downloads page has these, and links to 15 class playlists.
A special virtual edition of Cornelliana Night, June 6 from 8-9 p.m., will feature musical highlights from past Cornelliana celebrations and new Chorus and Glee Club performances created especially for 2020, as well as a tribute to the late President Emeritus Frank H.T. Rhodes.
Cornellians can participate in the Reunion Virtual 5K run/walk wherever they are, anytime June 5 or 6, and tag themselves with #CornellReunion on social media. Points will be given for creativity and showing Big Red spirit.
Cornell Library presents a read-a-thon and 50th anniversary celebration of “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison, M.A. ’55, June 6 from noon-1 p.m.
This year’s Liberty Hyde Bailey Lecture, “Don’t Blame the Weatherperson,” June 5 from, 1-2 p.m., features television meteorologists who majored in earth and atmospheric sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. They will discuss how their roles have evolved, the impact of climate change and why forecasting weather can be unpredictable. Art DeGaetano, professor of earth and atmospheric sciences and director of the Northeast Regional Climate Center, moderates the discussion.
“Mobilizing Design in Times of Crisis,” June 5 from 3-4 p.m., features College of Architecture, Art and Planning alumni and faculty who came together for Operation PPE, the Cornell-led effort to produce 3D-printed personal protective equipment for Weill Cornell Medicine health care workers.
Andy Noel, the Meakem*Smith Director of Athletics and Physical Education, and Big Red coaches will share insights on the current state of athletics, recruitment and more in “Big Red Athletics Now and Then,” June 5 from 4-5 p.m. Former Cornell athletes will join them to talk about the impact of athletics on their college experience and subsequent careers.
“Lawyers in the Best Sense,” June 6 from 1-2 p.m., is a “fireside chat” featuring U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, J.D. ’10, and Eduardo M. Peñalver ’94, the Allan R. Tessler Dean of Cornell Law School. Davids, a Democrat from Kansas, will talk about how her Cornell experience and Native American ancestry helped in her success, including breaking barriers for LGBT citizens and Native Americans in Kansas and Congressional politics.
“One Health: Cornell’s Collaborative Approach to Ensuring Human, Animal and Ecosystem Health in the Time of COVID-19,” June 6 from 3-4 p.m., highlights how the cross-campus One Health initiative and cutting-edge research at the College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) are advancing the health and well-being of animals and people, and shaping future health and recovery efforts. Experts from CVM, the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences will share their perspectives.
Video events available for viewing June 5-6 from 1-5 p.m., include a Lego speed-build guide on how to build your own model of Olin Library, with Lego resources for kids and families; a video Chimes concert; “The 25 Best Summer Reads,” chosen by Cornell University Library staff; a talk by librarian Fred Muratori on “Cornell Luminaries of Science Fiction”; and “The Art of Drinking,” a book talk with Michael Fontaine, professor of classics and associate vice provost of undergraduate education.
Some of the offerings will be available on demand after Reunion is over, giving “more people the opportunity to tune in,” Bushlow said. “Beyond Reunion, this will strengthen the ways Cornellians can connect with their alma mater. It speaks to innovation and the fact that this is uncharted territory, as we’re discovering new opportunities to engage with people around the world.”