The Keyword Bar XVII

26 07 2012

…because the planning board discussed projects I’ve covered ad nauseum and Cornell hasn’t caught my attention in the past week.

1. “how many students from cornell have jump to there deaths” (7-25-2012)

Death of grammar aside, this would not be an easy number to calculate, since a number of cases over the years have been questionable as to whether the fall was accidental or intentional, and whether an individual would be considered a student (ex. a case of a former student). That being said, it seemed from casual queries back during the 2010 suicides that for CU students who were believed to have committed suicides via gorge jumping, it is likely in the mid double-digits. This number does not reflect the number of suicides in the gorges (which is much higher, as they tend to be a magnet for those who want to go out in dramatic fashion), the number of gorge deaths (including accidental falls, the number is almost certainly in the few hundreds since Cornell opened) nor suicides that occur by other methods. From 2006 to 2010, there were three student gorge deaths by suicide, but a variety of other events (note – the hyperlink has one inaccuracy – William Jacobson was an IC student who drowned in a retention pond).

2. “eastman hall at ithaca named after” (7-25-2012)

Eastman Hall, an IC dorm, was built in 1962-1963. From what I can tell, many of these early buildings, built during IC’s rapid expansion on South Hill from 1959-1968, are named for older administrators or large donors (for instance,  Talcott Hall is likely tied to a student life administrator named “Mrs. Talcott” in news articles from the 1930s). Although there is no concrete evidence, Eastman Hall is likely named for George Eastman, founder of Eastman Kodak in Rochester, and a well-known philanthropist, especially of music schools. Although he passed away in the 1930s, it’s possible his company, or some foundation attached to his estate, made a donation; or it could be the manifestation of a donation from when Eastman was alive.

3. “chi gamma at cornell university sorority” (7-22-2012)

Their history seems rather unusual. Chi Gamma formed in 1956, after dissociating from its national (Sigma Kappa) because it did not wish to abide by the national’s racist membership policies. They lived at 150 Triphammer, and the sorority was active until at least 1963, when it merged with Chi Omega (both were small houses, so they decided to join forces as an attempt to hold their own in the increasingly meager sorority rushes of the ’60s). The house itself became home to the new and all-female Triphammer Co-op the following year, which became co-ed in the 1990s.

4. what is the address of the llenroc mansion (7-22-2012)

100 Cornell Avenue, Ithaca NY. There are only two houses on the street, the other I believe is a private residence.

5. ithaca “collegetown” fire 1998 (7-23-2012)

It might seem odd that in a stretch of century-old buildings, 407 College Avenue (the Apollo Chinese Restaurant building) was built in 2000 (as seen on its cornerstone). Well, the simple reason is that the old building, a wood-frame structure built in 1887, burnt down in October 1998, leaving 51 students homeless. The fire was believed to have started in the kitchen of a first-floor restaurant. Emergency housing and aid was provided by the Red Cross and Cornell. Since the site is prime Collegetown real estate, it was redeveloped into a six-story building and opened in August 2000.

Cayuga Green II (Cayuga Place) Goes Downscale

18 07 2012

ED. Please note the correction posted on August 11th.

Another incarnation of the Cayuga Green Condos has been proposed. First, the IJ article (for those without subscription, the Ithaca Indy provides another summary here). Now, first off, I would like to chastise the IJ for using an old image of the project – an image pulled from Bloomfield & Schon’s website of the modified third incarnation, which I include for reference below.

This is not the current proposal.

This is not the current proposal.

Notice that this has six floors. The revised version has four. This version also had 8000 sq ft of commercial space and 35 residential units. The revised proposal (which was only available in two thumbnail links, one of which was broken) has the same commercial space and 39 units, but less space overall – from 47,400 sq ft to 42,600. According to the IJ, development costs have been estimated to be about $8.5 million for this phase of the project.

I’m not even going to nice here. The design proposed does nothing good for the architectural pride of the development company. It’s essentially a glass box, with a little concrete filler. Boring, but okay. Even if it doesn’t have balconies, or even any shape to it apart from being a big glass box (heck, the earlier design the IJ tried to mislead people with is light-years ahead of this proposal). My issue is that it doesn’t even obscure the parking garage next to it, which overwhelms the proposed structure. It’s like they said, “hey, people will pay anything to live in Ithaca, so let’s try and squeeze as many as we can into as plain of a structure as possible” (I digress, this is the mantra of many low-brow developers, but I expected better from Bloomfield & Schon). Now, the last I checked, this was marketed as a luxury project. Nothing says luxury like being dominated by a parking garage next door. It’s just…mind boggling, in terms of planning and action. Cost of development aside, I’m having trouble imagining the developer getting these modifications past the planning board.

But, they kinda have to. In order for the developers to avoid issues with special resolutions from the city, the project needed to have financing and approval secured (i.e. construction starting) by June 30 – almost a month ago. So they’re already in hot water, and apparently, someone decided to water down the design, because I guess if you’re going to get on the bad side of city government, you might as well go for the gold. The prospects for development of this building are looking rather dim.

What a way to enjoy my morning – watching the IJ wrongfully mislead people with the incorrect design, and seeing the undersized box proposed. It’s mornings like this that I feel like I need to start drinking coffee.

Quotes of Cornell

12 07 2012

A few thoughts from prominent folks about the school Far Above Cayuga:

“The university of Mr. Cornell, a really noble monument of his munificence, yet seems to rest on a misconception of what culture truly is, and is to be calculated to produce miners, or engineers, or architects, not sweetness and light. -Matthew Arnold, Preface of Culture and Anarchy, 1869 (Bishop 177)

“Columbia cannot grow, or at any rate cannot grow rapidly…unless it shall, at least to some extent, modify its plan of instruction in a more or less distant imitation of Harvard or of Cornell University”. Columbia President Frederick Barnard, 1870.

“[Cornell Vice-President Albert] Russel is a man whose nonreligious convictions are very pronounced, giving the university an air of positive irreligion. The decadence of the students is positive testimony to the evil effects of free inquiry.” – Lyman Abbott, editor of the Christian Union, 1881 (Bishop 215)

“I see, or think I see evidence of a growing disposition to drift away from the original intentions of Mr. Cornell in the founding of a purely non-sectarian university…I look to you [A. D. White] to protect my investment in Cornell from the common enemy.” Cornell Trustee Hiram Sibley to A.D. White, 1888.

“The University was sadly in need of reorganization and refitting.” – Benjamin Ide Wheeler, in reference to Cornell in the mid-1880s, quoted in 1902. (Bishop 259)

“The graduate students are the crown of the University, and Cornell cannot afford to neglect them for the sake of any others…” – David Starr Jordan, 1888

“The cry of the horse leech is modest and attenuated beside the stupendous greed and the insatiable clamor of this favored institution.” – New York Press, Nov. 1892

“[Cornell was] better endowed than any institution in the land, yet never did anything.” U.S. Sec. of Agriculture James Wilson, 1904 (Bishop 366)

“There is no university in the country in which freedom of thought and of speech is more firmly entrenched in tradition and in policy.” – Prof Henry A. Sill to Carl Becker, 1917

“[Cornell students] are good because it is too much trouble to be bad.” Romeyn Berry, Alumni News, 1926

“No more do the better students chant their Alma Mater in a happy trance; they sing from the side of the mouth, with the air of cynical priests of old Egypt.” – Alumni News, 1931.

“Cornell is a center of revolutionary communistic activity.” – State Sen. John J. McNaboe, 1936

“CORNELL GOES BOLSHEVIST” – Headline, New York World-Telegram, 1944

“We must retain private initiative and management in certain important fields, and certainly some of it in higher education.” -Edmund Ezra Day, 1948.

“At a time when Cornell was becoming a multicultural place, the Board of Trustees has thrown a dart into our celebration.” – Prof. Kenneth McClane, on the decision or Trustees to not divest South African investments, 1989

“[My wish for Cornell] is that it will continue to thrive and reach new heights … welcoming men and women of every color and creed, whatever their social standing or pecuniary condition. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 2003

“I am grateful to Cornell. I have seen the good work you have done in every stage of life.” – Bill Clinton, 2004 Convocation speech.

“My memories are strong about this place; important. And the two times I have been here for sustained periods have always been extraordinary.” – Toni Morrison, 2009.

“I would venture to say that the students at [Bush staffer Monica] Goodling’s law school at Regent University are far more impressive than those at the Cornell agriculture school — the land-grant, non-Ivy League school Keith [Olbermann] attended.”-Political Pundit Ann Coulter, 2009

“I got an excellent education, and that’s all I got from it…If I had to do it over again, or I had known what Cornell had been like, I never would have gone there.” Political pundit Bill Maher ’78, in a 2012 podcast

Why Syracuse and Cornell Would Ever Be Mentioned in the Same Sentence

3 07 2012

I have a certain fondness for the Orange. I grew up in the Syracuse sphere of influence, where because of the lack of national sports franchises in the region (a few hardy souls follow the Buffalo Bills, who went 0-4 in a row in the Super Bowl in the 1990s; having not been to the playoffs in over a decade, beings a Bills fan requires grief therapy), the Syracuse Orangemen/Orangewomen, now using the extra PC term of Syracuse Orange, were the teams to follow, especially in football and basketball. When I was growing up in my hometown not too long ago, it was generally expected that if you were reasonably talented, you went to SU. And a couple dozen of my high school classmates did just that. I was the only one in my year that went to the Big Red, 50 miles southwest of University Hill.

In my mind, I often draw parallels to Cornell and Syracuse. They were both established in the Reconstruction Era – Cornell in 1865, and Syracuse in 1870. Both are large institutions – the combined student enrollment for Cornell is 20,939, and Syracuse is 20,407. In terms of the prestige factor, both are well-regarded, although Cornell, with its Ivy League gilding, is usually considered the more respected of the two. US News & World report ranks Cornell in a tie with Brown for 15th (roughly constant for the past few years), and Syracuse 62nd (a drop of about 12 spots since I started college in 2006). That all being said, if Syracuse had had what I wanted to study, and it was better ranked in that field than Cornell, I would’ve gone to Syracuse, lack of ivy notwithstanding.

The two are physically close, superficially similar, and their history is intertwined, which is what I want to touch on with this entry. Collegiate snobbery aside, Cornellians and Syracusans undoubtedly owe a fair amount of their history to each other.

First of all, Syracusans can thank Ezra Cornell (or curse him, perhaps) for being located where they are today. Andrew Dickson White and Ezra Cornell were state senators in the early 1860s, when the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act was passed; Cornell represented the Ithaca area, and White was elected out of the city of Syracuse. While they both united under the common goal of establish one strong university with those land sale proceeds, they differed on location. White wanted Syracuse to be home to the new school, and for the college to be seated on what is now University Hill. He believed that Syracuse, a burgeoning transportation hub, would make it easier to recruit faculty, and that the city would serve the university better. However, Ezra Cornell strongly disagreed; he detested Syracuse as a den of sin, citing an incident where he was twice-robbed of his wages as a young man while working in the city. Old Uncle Ezra offered up his farm in Ithaca if White agreed to keep the school out of Syracuse. White relented, and in following fashion, named the school after its biggest benefactor. On a final note, while Ezra gave $500,000 (1865 dollars) and his property to his fledgling institution, he gave $25,000 (1865 dollars) to those who supported a Syracuse school, so they would support the bill establishing the Ithaca school. In turn, this money was used to assist moving Genesee College from Lima, New York, to Syracuse, and helped SU to be established.

In many ways, the relationship between Cornell and Syracuse could be described as antagonistic. Cornell had the first school of forestry in the state, from 1898 to 1903. At that point, Bernhard Fernow had ticked off enough Adirondack land owners and wealthy vacationers that the governor vetoed funding for the school, which led to the Board of Trustees shutting it down. However, several years later, under the influence of Syracuse trustee Louis Marshall, a new forestry college was established in Syracuse, semi-associated with SU (SUNY ESF, in 1911). Rather than completely give in, Cornell continued a much smaller forestry college within the agriculture school, which annoyed the bean counters in Albany enough that they officially made SUNY ESF the primary forestry school in the 1930s, relegating Cornell to only “farm forestry“. In exchange, Syracuse had to drop all ambition of its own College of Agriculture. Today, the forestry department at Cornell is known as the Department of Natural Resources.

Competition for state money has always been a sticking point for Cornell and Syracuse. While Cornell lost the battle for the forestry school, Syracuse lost the battle for the ILR school (Industrial and Labor Relations) while it was being conceived in the late 1930s. Post WWII, academic competition between the two schools has given way as they diverged in their interests; the primary contests between the two institutions these days involve sports, where Syracuse usually has the upper hand.

So, as much as students at the two schools may taunt and jeer at each other, both institutions have played a crucial role in helping to develop the other. However, given my orange and red sympathies, I will forever be unwelcome at SU vs. Cornell games for the rest of my life.