Return to Alma Mater

I returned to Cornell, my college home of five years, for the first time in just over 15 years!

Got to visit with my prof/mentor and he gave me a great tour of the update campus and the changes and new architecture/buildings.

We also got to take a nice long hike around the breathtaking gorge/park near my prof/mentor’s house:


Spending about two days on campus, a few things really struck me:

  • After all this time, so much was the same and was so intimately familiar, like burned into my brain.  So, walking around Collegetown, campus, the Engineering & Arts Quads, eating lunch at the Hotel School, reading The Cornell Daily Sun, etc. — all of that felt like I was back in school.  The feeling was really eerie and totally unexpected!
  • Distances, physical and mental, felt smaller — I thought it was 20 minutes to walk across campus, but everything’s a bunch closer than I remembered it.
  • Everyone is on laptops & smartphones — and it’s campus-wide open wifi.  I don’t know <b>how</b> kids pay attention in Electricity & Magnetism with a twitter feed rolling…
  • Everyone is so young!  Given the fact it was only ~3rd week into classes, many of them *were* just out of high school.  The energy, optimism, and hustle was palpable and easy to feel/ride…   Ah, youth!
  • (Speaking of which) Although I hear weed is de rigueur in college now, I saw 0 evidence of it there (kinda relieving — esp. if you gonna pay that kinda $ to learn).  Only clear-eyed, sharp, hustling kids did I see.
  • The Engineering Quad has a brilliant new building, Duffield Hall, straddling the corners and joining two prior ho-hum old halls.  So now students have an enormously large open enclosed light-filled space with tables, chairs, cafes, and wifi — perfect in-between classes and for informal meetups while FB strategizing your weekend party scene (or more likely study!)  Yay, Geeks get some nice Goodies, too!   I spent a lot of time here and even saw my second-favorite professor and other profs having a (presumably) informal lunch together.

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tracey pooh

i like digital video and road cycling

2 thoughts on “Return to Alma Mater”

  1. Great pic and so nice to read the notes on your visit. I was there for a memorial service for Engineering prof. and Ombudsman Walter Lynn a few weeks ago. Spent most of the time on campus in WSH Memorial Room and terrace. I totally know what you mean about your brain just snapping right back into Cornell mode.

    Don’t know if you got a chance to see, but the new Architecture building where Rand Hall and SIbley used to be–which might now be re-named–is gorgeous. Ditto a small box outside the Johnson Museum that reportedly goes down nine floors or something. Cool to see the new stuff, comforting to recognize the old stuff.

    Thanks for sharing, Tracey.

    1. yay! yah, I did get to see the new architecture bldng and it is *fantastic*/amazing, love it!! it was at the very top of my list to hit on foot (after car tour of the new) but I got slightly lost after hitting CIT to restore my netID and thought I remembered it near the Johnson (ironically I wandered thru the older Sibley/Rand and saw the impressive 9/11 related exhibit (including kind of jaw-dropping “Nuke York” — did you see that?!) but managed to miss it as I ran out of time. Next visit, for sure!

      What an amazing place. Really took me back (and to be honest made me wish I had mentally entertained Architecture as a major at least to explore it (Psychology became my “backup plan” when I wasn’t sure I’d be able to “make it” in Engineering’s rigorous and highly theoretical Comp Sci.! 8-))

      How cool would it be if you, me, and Kolin Ohi all made it back at the same time, huh?


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