May 22, 2011

Seance With the Founders 2011: Founders For Life

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Graduation is here again. Lost parents are milling around Collegetown holding upside-down campus maps, students are shaking off hangovers in time to meet grandma for brunch and all Cornell is reading this Sun graduation issue with untamed excitement. Here to join in the revelry are Cornell University’s right, honorable founders, Ezra Cornell and A.D. White. Ouija board in hand, this reporter caught up with them late last week and held a brief but eventful seance.

Sun: So you’re back from the underworld for graduation, what are your thoughts on the Class of 2011?

Ezra: I’ll tell you what, in the 146 years since I founded this university, never has there been a finer crop of young men and women than those who stand before us.

A.D.: We’re at the bottom of a gorge tanning by ourselves, who exactly is standing around?

Ezra: Can you stop being a smart ass for three minutes?

Sun: Easy fellas, it’s a beautiful day, no need to bicker.

A.D.: I apologize. But back to your question: From what I witnessed from the Class of 2011 during Senior Week, you guys have a hell of a future.

Ezra: That’s not fair. Senior Week is the last hurrah before a life of monotonous, soul-crashing office work, you can’t blame them for letting loose one last time.

A.D.: I’m okay with letting loose. I’m not okay with chugging wine out of an empty cheese balls jug and then having a “hot dog war.”

Ezra: Touché.

Sun: Moving on, what are your thoughts on this year’s Commencement speaker, Rudy Giuliani?

A.D.: He’s not James K. Polk but —

Ezra: Oh, God, here he goes with Polk again.

A.D.: As I was saying, he’s no Polk. But he obviously understands, unlike that gutless little girl Henry Clay and his Whig cronies, that the private sector creates wealth while government destroys wealth, and that’s good enough for me.

Ezra: Even if you put politics aside, the fact is that he’s a not a good public speaker. So considering the fact that the commencement address is both a speech and in public, he’s not the best choice.

A.D.: At least he’s not a whiny liberal like every other Commencement speaker for the last two decades. But anyway, is this over yet?

Sun: Do you have somewhere to be?

Ezra: He has a hopscotch date with Osama bin Laden back in the underworld.

A.D.: Say what you will, but no one hops a scotch like OBL.

Sun: I’ll let you go then, thanks for the cameo, and I’ll pass along your congratulations to the Class of 2011.

Ezra: Please do.

A.D.: What congratulations?