March 24, 2016

Klarman Hall Time Capsule to Commemorate Humanities in 2016

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This week, the College of Arts and Sciences began accepting faculty, staff and alumni contributions to the Klarman Hall time capsule, which is scheduled to be buried during the formal dedication of Klarman Hall on May 26, according to the University.

The capsule — which will be placed between Klarman Hall and Lincoln Hall — intends to encapsulate the way that students learn the humanities, according to Kathy Hovis, University writer for the College of Arts and Sciences

Submissions should answer the question, “If you could talk to a Cornell student 50 years from now, what music, movies, shows, books and art do you love today that you would want to make sure they know about? Why are these works so important to you?” according to the University.

Gretchen Ritter ’83, the Harold Tanner Dean of Arts and Sciences, said that this capsule will commemorate the year 2016 as it was a particularly special year for the humanities at the University.

Klarman Hall, which was completed and opened up to the public this year was “the first building dedicated to the humanities on Cornell’s central campus in 100 years,” Ritter said. “The opening of this building and its dedication have given us an opportunity to reflect on the importance of the humanities, not only to Cornell, but to our lives and the world around us.”

The purpose of the capsule is “to capture life at Cornell today – especially the role of the humanities in our lives — and pass it on to the Cornell community of the future,” she said.

A committee composed of four professors — Prof. Gregory Michael Londe, English, Prof. Benjamin William Anderson, classics, Prof.  Naminata Diabate comparative literature and Prof. Andrew J Hicks, music are responsible for selecting some of the specific items to include in the time capsule, according to Hovis.

Anderson said that there is no final consensus  on what items will be included within it,but ideas include photographs of the construction of Klarman Hall, an iPad to represent present day technology, and a list of majors and departments offered by Arts and Sciences in 2016.

According to current plans, the capsule will be opened by the leaders of Cornell in the year 2065 — 200 years after the University was founded. “We’re hopeful that the submissions and stories will be read and widely distributed to the entire Cornell community during the University’s bicentennial celebration,” Hovis said.

Students have expressed their excitement about the added emphasis on humanities at Cornell.

“I think it’s really awesome to be part of such an exciting event as a humanities major,” said Zoe Kalos ’18. “Sometimes we forget how much the humanities give to Cornell and the world and I love being able to celebrate the beauty of my field in such a historic way.”

Ritter was optimistic about the impact of the capsule on the role of humanities on campus.

“We hope that thoughtful contributions to this time capsule as well as broader participation in New Century for the Humanities activities will foster a deeper reflection on the importance of the humanities and its centrality to lifelong learning,” she said.