Dave Mullarkey ’88, P’21, P’23, and Kim (Gaver) Mullarkey ’88, P’21, P’23 reside in the San Francisco Bay Area. They both graduated from the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management and received the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) Outstanding Alumni Award in 2018. Kim currently serves on the CALS Major Gift Committee, and Dave is a Dyson Undergraduate Advisory Council member. The Cornell Alumni Admissions Ambassador Network (CAAAN) is also a big part of both of their volunteer experiences. Their daughter Kara ’21 graduated from Dyson, and their daughter Jillian ’23 is a current student at the Cornell Peter and Stephanie Nolan School of Hotel Administration.
How did the two of you meet?
We initially met on the first day of Freshman Orientation and were in the same Orientation group. We also ended up having the same major and saw each other quite regularly in Warren Hall in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
What was your favorite class or extracurricular as a student?
Dave: My favorite was Professor Doc Aplin’s Intro to Business Management, which provided a practical foundation and sparked a lifelong interest in building and growing companies. I also worked as a grader for the course then as the head administrative teaching assistant.
Kim: My favorite class was Astronomy, taught by Professor Yervant Terzian. It was interesting to learn about black holes, quasars, the potential of life in outer space, and how much we still did not understand.
Do you have a favorite place on campus?
At the top of McGraw Tower at sunset, watching and listening to a Cornell Chimes concert is a one-of-a-kind experience.
Is there a Cornell program or initiative that is near and dear to your hearts, and why?
We are huge believers in learning by doing. Any programs and initiatives related to experiential learning are valuable, enabling students to apply what they have learned academically in real-world scenarios.
What is it like to experience Cornell as parents of two students?
It is incredible to see how our daughters are maturing, creating their own personal and professional paths, and building a group of lifelong friends through their Cornell experience. We are comforted knowing how much passion and care the faculty, staff, and administration take to support the students during their time in Ithaca. While many things have changed (e.g., Collegetown hangouts), it is great to have some common experiences and traditions that we will share in the years ahead.
What motivates your philanthropy?
Reflecting upon how Cornell has so profoundly shaped our lives, we want to give back to share and do what we can to help enable others to also get the most out of their lifelong Cornell experience.
As advisory council members, what has most impressed you about the governance of the university?
We appreciate how Cornell values involvement and diverse perspectives from different stakeholders before making critical decisions. Many organizations say they want input, but Cornell actually listens and acts upon it. We are also amazed at our fellow alumni who serve on advisory councils with us—their accomplishments, humility, and passion for helping Cornell is inspiring.