In January of 2005, the Cornell Association of Class Officers established the William “Bill” Vanneman ’31 Outstanding Class Leader Award to recognize Cornell alumni who, in their capacity as class officers, have provided long-term exemplary service to the university and to their individual classes. The award is appropriately named in honor of Bill Vanneman ’31, who served his class tirelessly for over 75 years.

2024 Recipient

Paula Laholt ’63, Arts and Sciences

Paula Laholt ’63 has served her class in many capacities since the 80s, first getting involved as a volunteer with her 25th Reunion. Currently Class President and a member of the Class Council, she’s held a number of class officer positions over the years including Reunion Chair, Vice President, Treasurer, Web Community Manager, and Reunion Campaign Committee member. She also served two terms on the Cornell Association of Class Officers (CACO) Board as a Vice President of Leadership and a Director at Large.

Paula single-handedly planned her class of 63’s 60th Reunion in 2023 as the sole Reunion Chair. She was committed to offering programming that would expose her classmates to topics they might not otherwise have had the opportunity to learn about—including a session on pronoun usage and Cornell’s ties to Indigenous Nations. During this same time period, Paula also stepped in to unofficially serve as class president when the current president was unable to continue their duties due to unforeseen circumstances.

Nearly all of Paula’s decades-long Cornell volunteerism has centered around her class and her efforts haven’t gone unnoticed by her classmates. Says another class leader, “Paula is the best and truly deserves this award for her selfless enthusiasm and willingness to serve.”

Past Recipients

2023 Martha Clark Mapes ’48, MS ’49
2022 Linda Jarschauer Johnson ’60, MS ’63
2021 Richard Hoffman ’67
2020 Dick Haggard ’58, PhD ’65 & Connie Haggard ’58
2019 Paul Blanchard ’52
2018 Chuck Hunt ’58
2017  Marshall Frank ’61 & Rosanna Frank ’61
2016  Jean Pearson ’48
2015  Stanley Rodwin ’50
2014  Shigeo “Shig” Kondo ’43
2013  Robert “Bob” Persons ’48
2012  Jack and Inger Gilbert ’49
2011  Jane Hardy ’53
2010  Peter D. Schwarz ’47
2009  S. Miller Harris ’43
2008  Edward Shineman ’37
2007  William & Elsie Doolittle ’38
2006  James C. Hanchett ’53
2005  William “Bill” Vanneman ’31



Brenda Canniff

Brenda Canniff

Class Programs Assistant


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