College staff celebrate summer with Arts Quad picnic

Adorned with feathers, strings of (faux) pearls and false mustaches, College of Arts & Sciences staff celebrated the end of the year with a “Great Gatsby”-themed picnic on the Arts Quad. 

Dave Taylor, associate dean of administration, (dressed for the occasion in a natty 3-piece suit and hat) welcomed the 400-plus revelers. He encouraged them to waste no time in putting their tickets in for prize drawings for the more than two dozen offerings, from overnight stays at the Cornell Club in New York City to Ithaca-area restaurants and theaters, from cruises on Cayuga Lake to spa treatments.

Attendees also competed in a trivia contest which included questions from the easy – who wrote “The Great Gatsby”? (F. Scott Fitzgerald) to what disease quarantined Ellis Island in 1921? (typhus). 

In his remarks, Ray Jayawardhana, the Harold Tanner Dean of Arts and Sciences, thanked the staff for making him feel welcome in his first year as dean and for “the great work that you do to keep this College running. The faculty and students in Arts & Sciences are lucky to have such a fabulous support system. Across every department, program, lab, and office in this College, you really do keep the lights on.”

Organizers for the event included committee chairs Ellen Harris and Michelle Stepanok, assisted by many A&S staff; Michael Williamson served as emcee.

Three women dressed in 1920's dresses with fringes and pearls pose in a giant picture frame

From left: Jolene Layton, Michelle Stepanok and Melissa Blake pose in a setting provided by the Department of Performing & Media Arts.

Line-up of costume contest winners, in 1920's-era clothing

Emcee Michael Williamson directed audience voting during the costume contest, which was a tie between Craig Wiggers and Dani Rotach. From left: Craig Wiggers, Kathleen Gemmell, Michael Williamson, Dani Rotach and Phillip Mericle.

Raishawn Pitt makes a giant bubble

Raishawn Pitt earned a ticket playing with the giant bubbles; other games included champagne pong, a batting competition and hoops.

Four retirees standing with the dean in front of the cake honoring them

Four long-time staff members about to retire were recognized by Dean Jaywardhana (far right) and honored with a special cake: Stacey Coil, department manager of economics, 39 years at Cornell; Henry Crans, director of facilities, 50 years at Cornell; Cindy Durbin, department manager of psychology, 36 years at Cornell; and Vince Kotmel, building manager in physics, 34 years at Cornell. 

Cake for honorees with feathers and decorations


The festive meal included a dessert buffet and martini glasses filled with toppings for mock cocktails. Photo credit: Keeley Boerman.


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