On most days, we roam through the Cornell campus making sure we get our work done on time, talking to only those people who sit at our tables at the Trillium or Terrace, and planning our weekend nightlife. In sum, we look out for our own best interests.
But in a school so large with so many diverse social circles, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. That is, many of us can get through four years at this place without ever really realizing just how widely and frequently we are influenced. Whether they’re political issues, Greek alcohol policies, musical performances, or career-hunting, things affect us here.
And behind all of this influence lie 25 diverse Cornellians who have chosen to look beyond their own interests. These individuals all have varying styles of influence — some subtle and reserved, others vociferous and ubiquitous. But they all share one commonality: each has impacted an element of our campus and many aspects of your lives. And that’s a mighty endeavor at a school with as much Big Red Tape as ours.
That said, we present our second annual list of the most influential Cornellians. If you plan on leaving your mark on the Hill, you may learn a thing or two from these folks.
A. Uzo Asonye ’02 He’s the man with the gavel. Uzo sits as the head of our Student Assembly, the body of people who make the laws and decisions that affect the entire student body. Under Uzo’s power, the S.A. has been extremely influential in fighting alongside the Asian Pacific Americans for Action to rally against bias-related crimes. He has also fought for student representation on the dean search committees.
B. Sam Bradford ’02 Any veteran Cornellian could tell you that a hangover isn’t just that nauseous feeling you get after a crazy night at Bibi Maizoon’s. And Samuel Bradford isn’t just any old Hangover. As president of Cornell’s most popular a cappella group, he ensures that the musical entertainment keeps on pouring out.
As leader, Bradford works to maintain the respected image of the 13-member group. He is currently focusing his efforts on alumni relations and international tours to expand the fan base of the group. And back on the Hill, he helped to make the Hangovers’ Fall Tonic a continued success, again selling out the 2000-seat Bailey Hall. And with their spring semester production of “Happy Hour” just several months away, Bradford will surely continue his undying effort to please audiences. “I just want to make sure everyone has a good time.”
C. Kate Costa ’01 is the president of a secret society. Unfortunately, she won’t reveal much more than that. Its name is Quill & Dagger, the Senior Honor Society, and it contains some of Cornell’s finest student-leaders (a few of which appear on this very list). But Costa’s proudest efforts on the Hill have come in the form of the Society for Women in Business, an organization which she founded and developed in only a matter of months. She now acts as its co-president, planning networking and career-building events for its female ARME members.
Costa was also a four-semester president of Cornell Entrepreneur Organization, a group designed for students who are current and aspiring entrepreneurs. Last year, she helped organize the Student Entrepreneurship Forum which brought together ten Cornellians who run their own businesses. In addition, Costa currently chairs the Judicial Affairs and Standards Board for the Panhellenic Council. She also chairs the classroom — as a teaching assistant for ARME statistics. “I just love what I do and I love Cornell,” she said. And we love you for it, Kate.
D. Itai Dinour ’01 He’s the Executive Director of OnSite Volunteer Services, a student organization encouraging volunteerism. OnSite is a great organization, but that wouldn’t be enough to put Dinour on our list of the influential. This year, under the guidance of Dinour, OnSite reached deep into the bowels of the Cornell community — the Greek system. Dinour joined the Greek community with his volunteer organization, creating a giant fundraising machine. The deal is that Onsite challenged each Greek house raise ten thousand dollars in funds for OnSite during the course of the year. With 60 houses in the Greek system, this proposal could result in big bucks for great causes.
E. Gabi Erbacher ’01 Cornellians are smart, responsible, respectable people. Gabi Erbacher believes this, and has faith in the people on our campus. This is why she, as the President of the Panhellenic Council and thus the liaison between the largest women’s organization on campus and the administration, has spent the last year crusading for our campus to be excluded from a national mandate for sororities to go dry. We’ll drink to that.
F. Aron Goetzl ’01 We go to the Big Red. Aron has red hair. While that should make him influential enough, Goetzl was also a member of the men’s squash team. Oh, and editor in chief of the most widely read newspaper on the Cornell campus — us!
Tens of thousands of students, faculty, alumni, administrators, and Ithacans alike read and heed Goetzl’s daily editorials. And under Goetzl’s reign as the mighty chief, The Cornell Daily Sun has launched its first successful web site, helping to further boost interest in campus and national issues,expand the influence of our written words, and deliver our newspaper into the next millennium in style.
We caught up with Goetzl to ask him why he thinks The Sun is so influential. “Its all about the crossword puzzle on the inside backpage,” he said. There you have it folks, from the man in charge.
G. Michael Halperin ’02 is the captain of the men’s tennis team. He went undefeated in the Ivy League last year making it to the national tournament for both indoor and outdoor competitions. He is the cream of the Cornell athletic crop, giving fans something to cheer about. Cheers to you, Mike.
H. Briton Holmberg ’01 Briton is a renaissance man, and not just because he is the president of a club with the same name. Renaissance makes it okay for Cornellians to be sober. In addition, not only does Brit manage all of the campus tour guides, but he can probably lift them all at once. Brit is also one of the founders of Slope Fest, a non-alcoholic alternative to Slope Day, from which the entire Cornell community benefits. Oh, and those zero to three ads, that’s him too.
I. Courtney Kimball ’01 The chimes are an integral part of every Cornellian’s day. We hear them on our way to class, on our way home … whether we like it or not. The chimes help to define our moods and make our days on the Hill a little more cheery. As the Head Chimesmaster, Kimball is the one who makes the music happen. Kimball is also the Vice President of Chi Epsilon, the Civil Engineering Honor Society.
Craig Koester ’01 From Sister Helen Prejean, the subject of the movie Dead Man Walking, to a speaker on the music of the 1980’s, the Cornell University Program Board has brought many renowned speakers to center stage at our fine school. The CUPB is an influential organization, and Koester is the man behind the curtain.
J. Chris Koza ’01 As the President of the Interfraternity Council, Koza watches over our campus’ 60 fraternal organizations. Among his many accomplishments as president, Koza has reconfigured and greatly improved the fraternity recruitment process on our campus.
K. Obed Louissaint ’02 is the President of Student Agencies, the second largest employer of Cornell students, second only to the University itself. Student Agencies is the owner of four businesses — including Big Red Shipping, Hired Hands Shipping. They also own the most prime real estate in Collegetown and have many front desk services. Aside from being in charge of the 107-year-old company, Louissant is also the Pres
ident of MILRSO, the minority ILR student organization.
L. Brian Lowe ’03 From just looking at him, you would never be able to guess what his voice sounds like. After all, Lowe’s an unassuming sophomore with quite an intense set of vocal cords. This blessing is probably why he has become the general manager and an “afternoon drive” DJ for WVBR 93.5 FM, the entirely Cornellian-run radio station. Lowe is truly the voice of the voices. He decides what you’ll hear, when you’ll hear it, and who you’ll hear it from. And that’s a pretty loud influence.
M. Sean Mackay As the Vice President of Judicial Affairs in the IFC. As such, he oversees the standards of all of the fraternities as well as enforces anti-hazing policy. While he may be the worst nightmare of any of the campus’s 60 fraternity presidents, he looks out for the community’s best interest. He has been the most influential Judicial leader in past years by doing the most follow-up with individual chapters and has made a real difference in the organization when it comes to accountability.
David Mahon ’01 Mahon represents the highest level of contact that we lowly students have with the administration. As one of the two students on the Board of Trustees, arguably the most influential University group, he looks our for our best interests. He fights for student representation among the high and mighty decisions that are made here. In brief, Mahon is the man.
N. Tovah Minster ’01 Who’s the leader of the band? It’s Tovah! She’s the Drum Major of the Big Red Marching Band, which is synonymous with Big Red Spirit.
O. Robin Moore ’01 She earned the title of Ivy League player of the year and conference tournament MVP. Moore also led the volleyball team to a spectacular second place finish in the Ivy League. This woman is truly the “Queen of the Court.” Her skill and leadership have put her at the top of Cornell’s female athletic scene, and has spiked the Hill’s interest in Cornell volleyball.
P. Michael Moschella ’02 Hillary Clinton mentioned him by name during her fly-over tour after winning the N.Y. Senate race. If that’s not political clout, we don’t know what is.
For the past year, Moschella has served as President of the Cornell Democrats –arguably, the most active political group on campus –and he couldn’t have possibly asked for a more exciting year. With high stakes in local, senatorial, and presidential campaigns, he has been busy advocating issues and rallying for Democrats from Ithaca to Washington, D.C. And, of course, spreading the word to any Cornellian who’ll listen.
Ricky Rahne ’02 Although he is only a junior, Rahne already holds most of the school’s quarterbacking records. This year in particular, he led the team to the brink of an Ivy League title through a series of miraculous wins. Unfortunately, they lost to the University of Pennsylvania, but that is certainly no fault of Rahne’s. The game, no matter the outcome, gave Cornellians a reason to come together and cheer for our alma mater. Rahne gave us all a reason to hold our heads a little higher. Now that’s power!
Q. John Ryan Jr. ’01 It’s fun to get drunk. And the person who giveth (or taketh away) the bottle to more Cornellians than anyone else is John Ryan. As President of Spirits Catering, this man has clout because he makes sure Cornellians get wasted safely and legally.
R. Joseph J. Sabia grad If you ask any member of the Cornell community about the College Republicans, the first two words out of their mouth will be Joe Sabia. As Chancellor of the College Republicans Board of Directors, Chancellor of Cornell Review, and Chancellor and President of the First Amendment Coalition, he might as well be the “Chancellor of Conservatism.” According to Sabia, “Politics is hardball, and I like pitching high and inside.”
S. Michael Schwalbe ’02 This man brought together two of the most powerful organizations on campus — the Interfraternity Council and the Cornell Concert Commission — to produce a great big Greek bash with a musical performance by Guster. In the future, the festival formerly known as Fun in the Sun will be referred to as Fall Fest, thanks in part to Schwalbe. He revolutionized the event and made the day about everyone, not just the Greek community.
T. Ryan Lee Short ’01 As the head of the Cornell Concert Commission, Short has brought us, among others, Ben Harper, the Indigo Girls, Moby, Green Eyed Peas, and Mos Def. In short, Short brings the big names to the Big Red.
U. Lisa Wang ’02 and Melissa Hu ’02 Since the first reporting of an assault on a female Asian student early on the morning of September 16, Wang and Hu have taken positive political actions. The racially-biased incidents have been at the forefront of the Cornell community for the majority of the semester. This much deserved attention is in a large part due to the hard work of these co-presidents of the Asian Pacific Americans for Action (APAA). Wang and Hu have been crusading for the administration to pay attention and prevent the future occurrence of happenings such as these. You go girls.
Archived article by David Kaplan