October 19, 2014

Cornellians Dedicate Sesquicentennial Grove

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In a joint celebration of Cornell’s sesquicentennial and Homecoming weekend, students, faculty and alumni gathered to formally dedicate the Sesquicentennial Commemorative Grove on Friday.

The grove, which opened this semester, features 15 quotations and 26 events on a timeline engraved on the benches and walkway “in the hopes of capturing the spirit and history of this special university,” according to Natalie Rosseau ’16, the undergraduate student member of the Sesquicentennial Committee.

Prof. Isaac Kramnick, government, said he thought of the idea in 2010 when initial planning for the sesquicentennial celebrations began. He noted that Cornell’s 100th birthday was not marked by the creation of any buildings, markers or plaques on campus.

“One of our first decisions was that the 150th birthday, unlike the 100th, would leave its mark,” Kramnick said. “Be it a building, a set of plaques, whatever it would be, its theme would be an effort to capture and represent Cornell’s unique history and spirit — the features that make it so special among institutions of higher learning in America.”

After securing the New York architectural design firm Weiss/Manfredi, cofounded by Michael Manfredi ’80, to design something commemorative of Cornell’s sesquicentennial, the idea for a grove documenting Cornell’s history was born, according to Kramnick.

“Their firm … had a reputation for innovative blending of structural and landscape design. It was their genius that came up with the idea of this magnificent grove as the way to convey the rich tapestry of Cornell history, with its engraved benches, its timeline underfoot and its plantings,” Kramnick said.

Professor Isaac Kramnick, government, addresses Cornellians at the Sesquicentennial Commemorative Grove dedication ceremony Friday morning. Bryce Evans / Sun Staff Photographer