This was a year of firsts
As we look forward to the New Year, we wanted to take a few moments to reflect on 2020. This was a year of firsts, as many of us transitioned to working, learning, and connecting online. We learned hard lessons: from how to keep the Cornell campus open in the midst of a global pandemic to how to engage in meaningful conversations across time zones and deep political and racial divides.
As 2020 draws to a close, Cornell has been internationally recognized as a model for its science-based plan to successfully reopen. Our faculty found new ways to teach. Our students inspired us with their commitment to follow public health guidance and keep one another safe. And our alumni blew us away with their efforts to stay connected and support the university and its mission to “do the most good.”
Cornellians were at the forefront, facing down challenges
Researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine (WCM), at dozens of sites across the U.S., and in labs around the world are collaborating in the race to test treatments and develop effective vaccines for COVID-19.
Cornell faculty members are innovating to adapt to the new normal and provide the best possible education for their students, both online and in-person.
This fall, Cornell encouraged community members to vote and shared resources to help them cope with a contentious election season.
In the midst of the pandemic, alumni reached out to provide good advice for job seekers, post internship and job opportunities on Handshake, and hire Cornellians.
Phil Yuen ’00 and his company developed an air filtration system that can eliminate 99.9% of the virus that causes COVID-19 and donated 30 of the air purifiers to the Statler Hotel for use in student quarantine rooms.
We celebrated diversity, equity and inclusion, and built community
Alumni in the Cornell Black Alumni Association stepped up to help student organizations raise funds to support racial equity initiatives and start important conversations on campus.
Cornell’s Asian & Asian American Center (A3C) continued to celebrate the importance of Asian cultures and provide space for students to explore their identities—with help from alumni.
Cornell Mosaic events at Virtual Reunion 2020 brought diverse alumni together to better understand racial injustice and engage in dialogue.
With the help of alumni, Cornell Outdoor Education is making strides toward greater diversity, inclusion, and scholarship assistance for students who can’t afford participation fees.
Jehron Petty ’20 founded ColorStack to increase entrance, retention, and success of Black, Latinx, and Native American computer science students at universities across the country.
We delivered relevant content to your fingertips
By year’s end, more than 55,000 Cornellians worldwide will have attended a Cornell event, shared their time, talent, and treasure, or engaged with our Big Red community. This is an impressive turnout for a year in which we have not seen one another for nine months!
Your participation reflects the success of the pivot we made in March 2020, when in-person events were cancelled and we had to find new ways to engage with our alumni. Since then, we have strived to create digital content that is useful, relevant, and comes to life in various formats, across many different platforms. From holiday recipes, to immersive sound experiences, to career support, keynote talks, and bipartisan problem solving—we have delivered.
In return, you have delivered for our students. Over the past nine months, you came together to contribute more than $28M to ensure that current students can complete their Cornell educations, in spite of the pandemic. As you reflect on the remarkable Cornellians in your life and throughout the world, we hope they fill you with Big Red pride. Thank you for all you do.