February 2, 2012

Seance With the Founders: Calling All Alumni

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The University made headlines in December when New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg accepted Cornell’s bid for a tech campus. Unfortunately for the lowly Sun reporter who caught up with the spirits of Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White, the founders had little interest in discussing this historic event. They were a bit miffed, to say the least, about an oversight in the Office of Alumni Affairs’ invitation list for a recent leadership conference, and refused to let the egregious act go unnoticed.

The Sun: Hey guys, welcome back. How was your winter break?

A.D. White: Wow. Real original. You bring me back from the dead and that’s your first question! What is this, sorority rush? Are you going to sing for me or will I just have to keep standing here …

Ezra Cornell: Now, now Andrew. Be polite to the young lad.

Sun: Thanks, Ezra. We have a lot to cover. I’m not sure if you heard, but the University’s bid for a New York City tech …

A.D.: Yeah, yeah tech campus. We know. Let’s move on to the real issue: How could the University send 750 Cornellians down to Washington, D.C. for an alumni leadership conference and not invite us?

Ezra: I normally try to stay above the fray on this sort of thing, but seriously? S.E. Cupp ’00 made the cut but these fools forgot to include their founders on the guest list. How many universities are named after S.E. Cupp?

A.D.: I heard our new mayor, Svante Myrick ’09 even made an appearance. He’s been in office for a month and is already pandering to the Washington insiders. I give him another year before we start hearing about a Congressional run. Classic Cornell overachiever.

Sun: So I’m guessing you gentlemen do not want to talk about the tech campus?

A.D.: We’re not falling for any of your voodoo journalism. There’s a reason why we don’t have a major for people like you. We’ll be running this little interview. Just like it used to be back in the day — you know, when I was president.

Ezra: Glad we were able to clarify who’s in charge. While we’re on the subject of notable Cornellians: Gun to your head, favorite alumnus?

A.D.: At this point I’m pretty sure holding a gun to my head won’t have a whole lot of impact, but I’ll go with Ruth Bader Ginsburg ’54. Don’t let the whole Supreme Court justice thing fool you. Complete facade. Let’s just say that back when she was roaming the halls of Balch —

Ezra: Andrew! Stop slandering our alumni.

A.D.: You’re right. From now on I’ll limit my slander to deceased alumni.

Ezra: Unlike my co-founder, I would actually like to add some civility to this conversation. Is that acceptable, Andrew?

A.D.: By all means …

Ezra: Our fine institution has crafted so many brilliant, young minds, but nobody better embodied my motto of “any person, any study” than —

A.D.: That was your motto? I had no idea.

Ezra: As I was saying, nobody better embodied that motto than Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. ’44.

A.D.: Did our faceless moderator from The Sun put you up to that one? We get it. Vonnegut wrote for The Sun. We’re all really impressed.

Sun: Okay guys, I think that just about does it. Any parting comments? It is Super Bowl weekend, after all.

Ezra: Indeed. Best of luck to Kevin Boothe ’06 and the Giants.

A.D.: Believe it or not, we do have bookies down in the underworld. I have the Patriots by a touchdown. I’ve been burned way too many times by Cornell football.