When Corey Ryan Earle ’07 began teaching the Cornell history course The First American University, he had several goals, including giving students a deep understanding and shared appreciation for Cornell’s uniqueness and many pioneering “firsts.” But he didn’t anticipate that 10 years later, the course would create a multigenerational, international community, thousands strong, connected by their ties to the university.
Richard “Dick” Polenberg, the Marie Underhill Noll Professor of History Emeritus, died Nov. 26 in Ithaca. He was 83.
Polenberg, a foremost scholar of American history, taught at Cornell from 1966 through his retirement in 2012. He served as department chair from 1977-80, taught memorable large lecture courses (including his popular class on modern U.S. history, which reliably filled Bailey Hall), and trained and mentored countless graduate students over the decades.
Cornell alumni, parents and friends have helped source and deliver more than 19,600 N95 respirator masks, 94,000 surgical and face masks, 59,000 surgical gloves, 2,600 sets of coveralls and other supplies.
More than three years into the provost’s Radical Collaboration initiative, about 15 faculty members have been hired across fields and colleges, partnerships continue to spark research and bold approaches into new areas, and each of the strategic task forces feeding the program has crafted its own approach to the effort.
Caitlín Barrett, associate professor of classics in the College of Arts and Sciences, and Kathryn Gleason ’79, professor of landscape architecture in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, have been collaborating since 2016 on the excavation and survey of a large house and garden site, the Casa della Regina Carolina Project, at Pompeii in southern Italy.
Isaac Kramnick, the Richard J. Schwartz Professor of Government Emeritus, a renowned scholar of English and American political thought and history, and a longtime champion of undergraduate education, died Dec. 21 in New York City. Kramnick was 81.
Cornell President Martha E. Pollack said Kramnick was “a beloved Cornellian; a teacher and leader who, in his time at Cornell, touched the lives of generations of students, faculty and staff.”
On April 19, 1969, dozens of members of Cornell’s Afro-American Society and several Latino students occupied Willard Straight Hall for 36 hours to call attention to what they perceived as the university’s hostility toward students of color, its student judicial system and its slow progress in establishing an Africana studies program.
Building on Cornell’s decades of fundamental and comparative research in the immunological sciences, Provost Michael Kotlikoff has announced the creation of a new Cornell Center for Immunology.
The virtual center will combine multiple research efforts across several departments and colleges on the Ithaca campus and strengthen ties to the university’s ongoing immunological research at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City.
Julia Thom-Levy, professor in physics and vice provost for academic innovation, oversees Cornell’s Center for Teaching Innovation (CTI) and the Office of Undergraduate Research. Her position was created a year ago, and CTI was formed by merging the former Center for Teaching Excellence with the Academic Technologies unit in Cornell Information Technologies.
Jie Shan, professor of applied and engineering physics in the College of Engineering, and Kin Fai Mak, assistant professor of physics in the College of Arts and Sciences, are experts on atomically thin materials, particularly their optical and electronic properties.