December 1, 2005

The 25 Most Influential Cornell Undergraduates

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Who are we to judge? We didn’t. We’re reporters; we just deliver the facts. The fact is that faculty, staff and administration nominated the students on this list. They are athletic, social and political leaders, and not one of them has graduated from college. They plan your drinking fests, convocation ceremony, indie-rock concerts, and sorority and fraternity formals – or, at least, create the rules governing that last group. They periodically fill Barton Hall with mildly offensive comedians or a Grammy-winning artist, or two. They are responsible for the campus’ partisan publications, yearbook, radio station and theatrical productions. They bring you replacement IDs for free when you accidentally deactivate yours by putting it in the washing machine, and even contribute to, and edit, the newspaper before your very eyes. But are these 25 worthy? We’ll let you decide for yourself …

Jon Bellante ’06

Behind all of the marquee speakers and celebrities ranging from Jon Stewart to Whoopi Goldberg who grace the Cornell tundra is the leadership of one person – Jon Bellante. Bellante is the current chairman of the Cornell University Programming Board, Slope Day Programming Board Chairman and Class of 2006 Convocation. Working at S.C. Johnson next year, Bellante says, “The ability to do large-scale programming to make the campus exciting and dynamic, is what motivates me.”

Shashi Bhat ’06

In the fall semester, Shashi Bhat spends forty hours a week – not at a job, not in bed – but at the Cornellian office, where she is editor in chief of the Cornell yearbook. Her remaining time goes to the Student Advisory Council for Cornell Tradition, where she serves as chair, the Arts and Sciences Academic Integrity Hearing Board, Mortar Board and the Quill and Dagger Senior Honor Society. She told The Sun, “I’m not a loud, outgoing person, but I like having influence in the background.”

Gillian Crowl ’06

Gillian Crowl certainly has her footprints in the community. She is president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, president of the Minority Undergraduate Law Society, co-founder and treasurer of the Minority Organization for the Development of Effective Leadership, senior commissioner of the Minority Finance Commission, and treasurer of Ithakids, a mentoring program serving underprivileged children in Ithaca.

Alex Deyle ’06

For someone who had “no intention of joining a frat,” Deyle has certainly taken the Greek world by storm. As president of the Interfraternity Council, Deyle revamped the social guidelines, created a new social policy to make students safer and placed more responsibility on members of individual chapters. Deyle made his IFC debut as a member of Sigma Pi, and served as the vice president of Order of Omega, the Greek system’s honor society. Deyle sees his involvement in IFC as “a great opportunity to make sure we keep having fun.”

Rich Galati ’06

As the President and General Manager of WVBR since last April, Richard Galati is tasked with leading one of only two student-run commercial radio stations in America. Galati, also a snare drummer in the Big Red Marching Band, said that his main goals during his tenure at WVBR are to boost sales and continue to broaden the spectrum of listeners who tune into the station. While his predecessors have focused more the station’s programming, the Glen Head, N.Y., native hopes that WVBR will be able to reach out to more Cornell students.

Heather Grantham ’06

While known by many of The Sun’s readers as the “sex columnist,” Heather Grantham has been extremely involved in a variety of campus groups. Coming from Hartford, Ky., Grantham was the first person ever in her county who went to an Ivy League school as an undergraduate. Since then, not only has Grantham become the treasurer of Students Acting for Gender Equality and the vice president of community relations for the Cornell Democrats, she is also the Commander-in-Chief of the S.A. Image Committee.

Beth Herget ’06

For two years now, Herget has served as president of the little known Fanclub Collective, working hard without the big bucks and prestige of the Cornell Concert Commission to bring smaller independent acts into the local music scene. Perhaps their website says it best: “We put on a lot of shows with not a lot of money.” Herget has gotten pretty good at what she does, bringing acts like Interpol and Rapture, negotiating contracts and finding on-campus venues.

Ashley Higgins ’06

There are 1000 girls in Cornell’s Greek system. And standing at the helm of all of them is Ashley Higgins, president of the Panhellenic Association. Higgins works as the liaison between sorority members, the University and their national chapters. In her term as president, she has worked on adding more chapters to Creating Chapters of Excellence, the Greek aspect of the Residential Initiative. Higgins is also a member of the Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity and is a CALS Ambassador.

Gregory Ngai Hom ’06

Gregory Hom is a social mover and shaker. The president of MOSAIC first joined the LGBT minority organization when it had a large black representation and soon organized programs to target more Asians on campus. When he was part of the Asian Pacific Americans for Action, he helped to organize the first nationwide conference for Asian Pacific American women in college. Currently, Hom is also working with Senior Class Council to put together lecture series for next semester and is a Sun columnist.

Paul Ibrahim ’06

A consistent champion for the Republican cause, the Lebanese-born Ibrahim has served as president of both the Cornell Review and the Cornell Coalition for Life. After revitalizing conservative campus literature, he stirred up a healthy debate on abortion. Now he serves as chairman for the Cornell Republicans, a well-spoken advocate for an often maligned ideological minority. He’s managed to continue nurturing his author ambitions, however, with a bi-weekly column in The Sun.

Josh Katcher ’06

Ever lost your Cornell ID? Thanks to student-elected Trustee Katcher, you can get a second one for free. The complimentary replacement for your first ID is one of many ‘nickel-and-diming’ issues Katcher has worked to change in his term. To assess where Cornellians felt they were being shortchanged, Katcher surveyed 9000 students in the Student Fee Review. The survey found that the charge for the TCAT bus service was an area of discontentment, so as a result of Katcher’s work, the settlement with last year’s Redbud Woods protestors was free bus service for freshmen.

David Lederman ’06

Who says you have to wait ’til after college for your first million? As co-chair of the Student Assembly Finance Commission, Lederman allocates the $1 million Student Activity Fee budget to 450 student groups, working with more than 1,200 student leaders. Lederman has revamped the funding handbook to make the guidelines more ‘group friendly.’ “When you walk around campus and see posters advertising events on campus with the SAFC emblem at the bottom and know that you brought it there, it’s a great feeling.”

Doug Leuthold ’06

As Managing Director for Hotel Ezra Cornell 81, Leuthold is charged with catering to top hospitality executives, international academics and his peers for three nervewracking days in April. And for a side course? In his down time -that is in between his typical 18-credit courseload and host of other extracurriculars – he flies around the country and the world putting the best face forward for Cornell by performing with the Glee Club in California and Brazil, and the Hangovers, for which he serves as president. And what does he hope for the future? “I want to throw parties for a living,” he said in true Hotel form.

Tim Lim ’06

“I’ve never accepted the status quo,” Lim explains as his reason for getting involved with the Student Assembly (SA). “Things can always be better and the best way to change them is to get involve
d.” As SA President, Lim has worked to hard to reform the funding process for students groups. He also played a large role in organizing last year’s Academic Freedom with Responsibility Forums, to educate students on legal music downloading, free speech and academic integrity. Last fall, Lim also brought Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean to campus.

Matt Moulson ’06

For an individual who thought that playing hockey at an Ivy League school was a pipe dream when he was younger, Matt Moulson has come a long way. Moulson is now the captain of the men’s hockey team and the team’s leading scorer. A seventh-round draft pick by NHL team, the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2003, the Mississauga, Ont., native said he was grateful to his family and friends on campus for their support and hopes to be lifting a national championship when the season is over. “Everything’s that happened to me, I’ve just been so fortunate.”

Kervin Pillot ’06

In between the demands of his Government and Latino Studies coursework, Pillot doesn’t simply let his knowledge go to waste: he takes what he learns and applies it: he has served as president of the Puerto Rican Students Association, as a commissioner on the Minority Finance Commission, and as a strong advocate for Cornell’s Program Houses, which include the Latino Living Center, where he works. What is on his current agenda? More development of the Latino Studies, which he says has made strides but is still “limited.”

Emily Ranii ’07

For Ranii, all the world’s a stage: she has helped introduce thousands of students, faculty and Ithacans to Schwartz Center theater with shining performances in both The Merchant of Venice and Othello, in which she played Desdemona. She has also tried her hand at directing, including a performance of The Nina Variations also at the Schwartz Center. And in between curtain calls? The North Carolinian works as a student assistant in the Alice Cook House. Quite a performance, especially after bringing top Shakespearean theater to upstate New York.

John Rawlins III ’06

“It’s all about balance,” said John Rawlins, a Maryland native who is the master of juggling activities. Rawlins is director of Chosen Generation Gospel Choir, chairman of the Festival of Black Gospel, co-chair of the Men of Color Council, director of public relations for the LINK Men’s Alliance, the co-founder and public relations director for the Minority Organization for the Development of Effective Leadership, and a resident advisor in Ujamaa. In his spare time, Rawlins likes to hang out with friends, sing and write Gospel and R&B songs.

Kevin Rex ’06

Coming to Cornell from Thousand Oaks, Calif., Kevin Rex wanted to improve himself both on the football field and in the classroom, studying with “some of the top students in the world.” Aside from his exploits as a First-Team All-Ivy safety and tri-captain for the football team, which earned a 6-4 record this past season, Rex is a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and Sphinx Head honor society among other service organizations. After he graduates, Rex wants to travel to South America to do medical missionary work.

Marcy Saltz ’06

Want sold out tickets to that hot band coming to Cornell? Try rubbing shoulders with Marcy Saltz, executive director of the Cornell Concert Commission, the group that organizes all major band appearances on campus. “Every student should go to at least one of the concerts that we hold,” said Saltz. Not bad advice, coming from someone who is also publicity director for the Slope Day Programming Board. In her free time, Saltz watches a great deal of TV shows and listens to music that is usually less mainstream than what the CCC brings. After college, Saltz will venture into market research in the consumer packaged goods industry.

Erica Temel ’06

How influential is Erica Temel? Put it this way: without Erica, you would not be reading this article right now. Now that’s relevance – a girl so essential that she is affecting your actions as we speak. So committed is Erica to her post as Editor in Chief that she began campaigning for the position while still in high school (and the funny thing is that you think we’re joking). But don’t let the Machiavellian tendencies fool you – when asked to describe her, the three most common adjectives are always “cute,” “nice” and “maniacally controlling.”

Justin Teo ’06

Intrigue, financial sense and valor – Justin Teo has got the total package. Teo is the president of the Quill and Dagger Senior Honor Society and president and co-founder of the Cornell Mutual Investment Club, the University’s largest undergraduate-run mutual fund. Prior to Cornell, he received “the Sword of Honor” from the President of Singapore for being the top graduating armor officer cadet. In addition, Teo re-founded his fraternity, Pi Kappa Phi, after it closed down in 2001. After college, he plans to work for an investment bank. His advice to other students? “Always try to be a part of something bigger than yourself.”

Jamie Weinstein ’06

For some, it’s about making their voices heard. Weinstein’s has fallen on to audiences from Congressional officials to the readership of the Cornell American. As president of the Cornell Israel Political Action Coalition (CIPAC), a member of Cornell College Republicans, head of the Students for Academic Freedom (2003), a former columnist for the Cornell Review and a current columnist for The Sun, Weinstein has found his mic on the Cornell campus. Last year, CIPAC won the Duke Rudman Award for being the best campus pro-Israel group in the country.

Patrick Young ’06

Known mostly for his part in taking over former President Lehman’s office in protest of the Redbud Woods parking lot, Young has been a consistent activist for the progressive cause. He has fought for labor rights in COLA, against the war in Iraq with Cornellians for Peace and Justice, and for children’s lives with Cornell Students Against Sweatshop Labor. Last semester, he got local and helped organize protests to benefit TCAT drivers. Wherever there is a cause to advance, it’s a fair bet that Young will be leading the charge for justice.

Michael Zuckerman ’06

Despite transferring from Lehigh University earlier in his college career, Mike Zuckerman quickly became a familiar figure in the news at Cornell. Zuckerman was at the forefront of planning Mock Election 2004, which among other things, brought the U.S. Senate debates onto campus – an event which was covered by several national media outlets. The Glencoe, Illinois native was the transfer representative on the S.A. during his sophomore year and is currently the president of the Class of 2006 – spearheading the planning of events for the senior class.

Archived article by Sun Staff