Touchdown the Bear in New York City

‘How did Cornell Prepare You for Life After the Hill?’

A recent LinkedIn poll asked the question—and you rose to the occasion with some notable (and touching) answers!

“Bear Hugs” celebrates heartwarming stories of Cornellians on the Hill and around the world. Have an idea? Email us at!

By Beth Saulnier

Beloved mentors; memorable classes; academic rigor; endless opportunities. Alumni cited those things, and many others, in response to a recent LinkedIn poll asking, “How did Cornell prepare you for life after the Hill?”

“How could Cornell not prepare us for life?,” mused Paul DuBowy ’75, a wetland ecologist based in Wyoming.

“There’s something to, ‘I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study.’ And it wasn’t just the in-class education. It was the Lab of Ornithology, Cornell Botanic Gardens, Cornell Chimes, sunsets over Cayuga Lake, and even late nights at Johnny’s Big Red Bar and Grill that prepared me for a rich and fulfilling career.”

The poll, held on Cornell’s annual Giving Day, drew more than 100 responses from alumni and current students.

Scroll through our slideshow for a sampling—and leave your own answer in the comments!

(Responses have been edited and condensed.)

Top: Touchdown, a big (Red) bear in the big city. (Lindsay France / Cornell University)

Published March 22, 2024

How did Cornell prepare you for life after the Hill?


  1. Mimi (Mildred) C. Levine, Class of 1954

    During my college summers I worked at GE in Schenectady and learned computers. I went to work at IBM after graduation. Cornell gave me the education necessary to succeed at these companies.
    I married my high school sweetheart. Now 70 years later we have 3 sons, all of whom graduated from Cornell, and a daughter who is an Ithaca college alum. We attended CAU during its first 6 years and our family fell in love with my institution.

  2. Fredric Chanania, Class of 1970

    Because the Vietnam War was raging and the draft was looming, it was an intense period of time for personal introspection. Cornell gave me the place and space in which I could examine my value system, figure out who to admire as role models, and set my goals in life, which have remained in place since then.

  3. Joe Levitt, Class of 1975

    Two answers:

    1. I met my wife, then Barbara Shumaker (Arts ’75), what more could one ask?

    2. The College Scholar Program allowed me to chart my own course and to think broadly, something I continued throughout my careers in government, law practice, and leadership coaching.

    Joe Levitt, Arts ’75

  4. Andrew Goldstein, Class of 1969

    I met my lifelong companion and best confidant, Marian Jean Love (’70 Hum Ec) in 1968. It was not a coincidence that my grades went up after that because I finally had a close relationship with someone I could share many evenings with at The Commons and other hangouts. Great pastries and great conversations.
    One of the best things CALS gave me was extraordinary laboratory skills and the confidence to be creative, adventurous and successful in the biotechnology arena for which I am forever grateful.

  5. Carolyn Rogers, Class of 1959

    I really learned to persevere. Whether plowing through abundant snow trudging to class (no slacks allowed), or the misery of a really bad semester Soph. year, I made it.
    I love Cornell.

Leave a Comment

Once your comment is approved, your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Other stories You may like