Over soup and hot rolls, Cornellians will listen to Cal Walker, Cornell’s former liaison to the Ithaca City School District, speak at the Soup and Hope event on Thursday.
Walker worked as the associate director of the Learning Strategies Center before becoming an outreach liaison. He served the Cornell community for 25 years, according to the Cornell United Religious Work website.
Soup and Hope is a weekly lunchtime speaker series where listeners sip on free soup and bread. Each luncheon includes a talk from a Cornell staff or faculty member, student or other community member. The event, which takes place in Sage Hall, runs from noon to 1 p.m. every other Thursday.
“Soup and Hope began 12 years ago as a way for Cornell staff to hear colleagues’ stories about the source of hope in their lives,” said Rev. Daniel T. McMullin, associate director of Cornell United Religious Work, in an email to The Sun.
Walker, the speaker at Thursday’s lunch, moved to Ithaca in 1976, worked as a field sales representative for Procter & Gamble, according to the CURW website. Fifteen years later, he started working at Cornell.
Walker became Cornell’s first liaison to the Ithaca City School District in 2007. The position was created to bridge the gap between Ithaca’s students and the Cornell community.
“Having worked at Cornell since 1993, I have an appreciation for what it takes for students to succeed at a high level,” he told The Sun in 2007. “I understand what they will need in high school in order for them to be successful in college.”
Prior to being a liaison, Walker tutored students and was associate director of the Learning Strategies Center. Stephanie Purnell ’10 met Walker at the Pre-freshman Summer Program, and then worked with him at the Learning Strategies Center, The Sun previously reported.
“During PSP he was very hands-on even when he wasn’t necessarily supposed to be,” Purnell told The Sun in 2007. “Most times people in high positions don’t make time to get really involved but Cal made an honest effort to help students academically and encourage students. He made life at Cornell more comfortable for me personally.”
McMullin said that Walker previously spoke at Soup & Hope and that committee members were “unanimous in hearing him again.”
According to McMullin, 150 to 200 people attend each Soup & Hope. The event will occur bi-weekly until March 28.