Cornell Donations Rise by $44.5M In F.Y. 2014-15

Philanthropic donations to Cornell increased by $44.5 million — about eight percent — from $546.1 million to $590.6 million for the 2014-15 fiscal year, according to the Council for Aid to Education. The council, which conducts an annual survey to calculate donations, ranked Cornell as the fifth university to receive the most donations, behind Stanford, Harvard, the University of Southern California and the University of California, San Francisco. Nationally, colleges raised a record $40.30 billion, which is the highest since the inception of the survey in 1957, according to the council. Frederick Van Sickle, vice president of alumni affairs and development, said the increase in donations is due to the vibrancy of Cornell’s alumni community. “Cornell is blessed with a passionately supportive alumni community that responded to the University’s needs and aspirations through the record setting and just-completed Cornell Now campaign,” Van Sickle said.

Alumnus Co-Writes CeeLo Green Song

Music producer Alex Kresovich ’08 co-wrote the song “Thorns” on CeeLo Green’s new album “Heart Blanche” — released on Nov. 6 — according to a University press release. Kresovich said he co-wrote the song with Ithaca natives Sam Nelson Harris and Hayden Frank of the rock band X Ambassadors. According to Kresovich, he made the track for “Thorns” immediately after he lost out on a publishing deal and the news devastated him. “I felt the need to create something soulful to mend my broken heart,” Kresovich said.

Fred Van Sickle Named Vice President for Alumni Affairs and Development

Fred Van Sickle has been named the next vice president for alumni affairs and development, President Elizabeth Garrett announced Thursday. He will succeed Charles Phlegar, who departed the University earlier this year. Van Sickle, who is currently the chief development officer at the Institute for Advanced Study — a postdoctoral research center  — will assume his new position on Jan. 18, according to the University. He earned his bachelors’ degree from Lake Forest College in 1983, master of education from Harvard in 1989 and doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania in 1996, according to a University press release.

Going Greek!

Any Cornellian who watches the show Greek has probably noticed a few similarities to life on the hill that seem like more than just coincidences. From an alma mater that begins with “Far above … ”, to mention of a historic clock tower, it turns out these references are very much intentional thanks to Jessica O’Toole ’94. O’Toole is a writer and co-producer of ABC Family’s Greek. The Sun spoke with the former Daily Sun writer about her time at Cornell, the ties between Greek and the Big Red and what viewers can look forward to in the upcoming season.
The third season of
Greek premieres next Monday, Aug. 31 at 9 p.m. on ABC Family.

Better Than Real Life

For an art form that often lives in the shadow of its live-action big brother, animation finally received its share of the spotlight on Saturday at Cornell Cinema’s special event, Homegrown Animation. Headlined by Tara Cooper ’08’s ten-minute short Until the Lake Froze Solid, the program included nineteen animated shorts made by Cornell students over the past six years, as well as a Q&A session with Tara about her MFA thesis film. Although there was no red carpet or hordes of paparazzi waiting outside Homegrown Animation was both a showcase of the cream of the crop of Cornell animation projects and some well-deserved face time for the incredibly talented artists whose work rarely earns the attention that it’s due.