September 8, 2006

C.U. Celebrates New Prez

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“I couldn’t taste the berry, but I could taste the Skorton,” Laura Libby ’07 said of Cornell Dairy’s new “Banana-Berry Skorton” ice cream flavor.
If the student reaction to the inaugural ice cream is any harbinger of President Skorton’s popularity and success, the future looks bright for the Big Red.
Sanford Weill’s ’55 “Welcome to the Cornell Family,” read by Peter C. Meinig ’62, chair of the Board of Trustees, seemed to echo throughout the Cornell community immediately following the inauguration ceremony. Weill, chair of the Board of Overseers of Weill Cornell Medical Sciences, was unable to attend, due to prior commitments, and sent Meinig the letter to read.
Students, faculty, staff and community leaders expressed excitement about Skorton’s vision and personality.
Skorton showed “a level of understanding of the total person — the intellectual, the spiritual, the artistic and the academic,” said Rabbi Ed Rosenthal, director of Cornell Hillel. “As I listened to [the speech], I said, ‘the president is an artist, a poet and a scholar.’ How lucky can we be?”
Student Assembly executive vice president Mark Coombs ’08 appreciated Skorton’s desire to increase the profile of the arts and humanities at Cornell.
“I really like that President Skorton stressed that he wants to make sure that the arts and sciences are on an equal playing field,” he said. “I also enjoyed the different music throughout his presentation. I think he’s a president who’s going to energize the student body. I think everybody’s looking forward to seeing what he’s going to do for the campus.”
Skorton sought to highlight the University’s myriad artistic aspects through his address. “I’m trying to focus it on the broad breath of cultural and humanistic offerings at the University,” he told The Sun.
Students lauded his interdisciplinary approach and creative integration of artistic outlets into his inaugural address.
“The Bhangra performance really shows the diversity. The traditional ceremony superimposed with the cultural groups shows what Cornell is all about,” said Manoj Easaw ’09.
David Kiferbaum ’08 agreed, saying, “The extended dance metaphor tied together a lot of fields you usually wouldn’t associate with one another. It really showed his commitment to furthering students’ intellectual development through interdisciplinary opportunities.”
Skorton also used his address to highlight the contributions of Cornell’s staff to the University and the community.
“I think it really says something for him that he not only promotes the faculty and the students at Cornell, but he makes a point of saying ‘the staff are important, too, in running the place and keeping us together,’” said Laurie DeNardo, acting director of human resources for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
Mayor Carolyn Peterson attended the ceremony and expressed the city’s optimism and excitement over Skorton’s appointment.
“I really appreciate having a president of the University who acknowledges the importance of the relationship of the university with the community and vice-versa,” she told The Sun. “I really think it’s a positive time for community-university relations.”