Wanda Brause Dumermuth '45
October 19 will always be her day, at least in Tulare, Calif. Wanda Brause Dumermuth '45 was honored last year for all the work she's done to make Tulare a better place. The town named Oct. 19, 2009, "Dumermuth Day" to honor her for sharing her musical talent with the town for nearly 50 years, including 26 as organist for the local Methodist church. Dumermuth's love for music goes back to Cornell College, where she majored in music. The day's festivities included a banquet and a friendly roast. In addition to sharing her musical talent, she and her husband, Derryl, have co-authored two books chronicling the history of Tulare.
Sarah Evans McCracken '59
What began as an idea in the living room of Sarah Evans McCracken '59 in 1995 is now a four-week summer music festival and music academy in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains. For most of those years she and her husband, Dave McCracken, helped run the festival in Wintergreen, Va. "We began with $50 in the bank in 1997 and now have a budget of about $800,000," she says. "I am just a patron at this time and loving it after years of scraping to keep it together." Three years ago the festival hired an artistic/executive director, and the festival has expanded to include daily seminars, a film festival, and visual arts. The 2010 festival features nearly 300 events.
Jerry Ringer '59 and Carole Ringer
Jerry Ringer '59 and honorary alumna Carole Ringer, Bloomington, Ill., were named philanthropists of the year during the 10th anniversary celebration of the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation. Jerry is president of the Illinois Shakespeare Festival Society and has served nine three-year terms on the Cornell College Board of Trustees. A retired ophthalmologist, he has taken trips to Africa to perform eye treatments and surgery. Carole is president of the Illinois Symphony Orchestra and has been involved with several community organizations, including Girl Scouts, Medical Alliance, and Friends of the Art.
John Klousia '67
After the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti, John Klousia '67, a urologist living in Northern Virginia, knew he'd go there. He has, after all, been going to Haiti for six years now, helping to provide medical care as part of Community Coalition for Haiti. The group works to provide medical care, clean water, and education. Since the earthquake, the organization has sent teams for two-week tours, trying to help alleviate the suffering. The challenges seem daunting, with almost no laboratory tests and electricity that isn't on 24-hours-a-day, but there are some bright spots, notably the people who give their time and money to help, and the attitude of the Haitians. "The perseverance, "Klousia said.
Daryl J. Boness '72
Daryl J. Boness '72, Hartford, Maine, was nominated by President Obama to chair the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission and has completed confirmation hearings. He is a retired senior scientist with the Smithsonian Institution, where he led the zoological research and conservation biology departments at the National Zoological Park. He is chairman of the Committee of Scientific Advisors for the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission and research professor at the University of Maine. He has published more than 100 scientific papers, book chapters, and major reports, and is editor-in-chief of the scientific journal Marine Mammal Science. He and Leslie Poland Boness '72 live on a former farm and summer camp with a 9-hole golf course that has been in Leslie's family for four generations.
Shelley Paulson Carey '77
Shelley Paulson Carey '77 wanted to make sure all the students in the elementary school she's principal of in Evanston, Ill., had books to read at home. But with 27 percent of the students coming from lower-income families, books were often a luxury. For the past six years, she's run a program that gives a basket of between 50 and 100 books to families who qualify for the federal free lunch program, with each student receiving a basket once while they were in the school. The program has donated 75 baskets so far, and even though Carey is leaving to become principal of a school in Northfield, Ill., the program will continue.
Bruce Montgomery '78
Negotiating precedent-setting agreements with war-torn countries and Amnesty International to archive sensitive files enabled Bruce Montgomery '78 to create the largest human rights archives in existence. As faculty director of archives at the University of Colorado at Boulder Libraries, he began the "Human Rights Initiative" to preserve the legacy of the international human rights movement. In 1998 he acquired 18 tons of Iraqi secret police files, which he later repatriated to Iraqi Kurdistan to be used in the trials of Saddam Hussein. The vast archive attracted scholars and researchers from around the world until the university terminated the project. Montgomery continues to write articles and books on the "Richard B. Cheney and the Rise of the Imperial Vice Presidency."
Brian Lee Knopp '83
Brian Lee Knopp '83 didn't intend to write a book on his colorful life as a private investigator. He was challenged by author and friend Elizabeth Gilbert ("Eat, Pray, Love"), whom he met while teaching a wilderness orientation course. After initial success selling it to GQ magazine, he self-published "Mayhem in Mayberry: Misadventures of a P.I. in Southern Appalachia." Knopp, who holds a master's degree in English literature, is married and raises sheep on his farm outside Asheville, N.C. He said his next book could be about his equally colorful career as a professional sheep shearer. "I like nonfiction,” he said. “The world is so weird, why would you not write about it?" For more, see his Mayhem in Mayberry Facebook fan page.
Jeffrey McCune '99
Jeffrey McCune '99 was back on the Hilltop in April, this time as a lecturer. He gave several talks as part of the Beta Omicron Distinguished Alumni Visitors program, including one on racial identity, gender, politics, and perception in hip-hop, and another about the value and potential of hip-hop. McCune holds a doctorate in performance studies and gender studies from Northwestern University, and is now an assistant professor of American studies and women's studies at the University of Maryland. At the start of his first talk, he spoke about how important Cornell was to him and how his classes gave him the critical analytic skills that have allowed him to think about the way hiphop affects American culture.
Rebecca Ringquist '00
When textile artist Rebecca Ringquist '00 was invited to organize Chicagoans to embroider ribbons for the White House Blue Room Christmas tree, it started an odyssey that ended in the White House and taping for "The Oprah Show." "I had no idea when I started the project that I would end up at the White House hanging ornaments and eating oysters at a reception hosted by the First Lady," Ringquist said. "It was an all-around amazing experience." She is an adjunct assistant professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, is director of textiles at Lillstreet Art Center, and shows her work regularly around the country. This summer she's teaching workshops at Haystack in Maine and Ox-Bow in Michigan.
Kristi Peterson Meyer '01
When Kristi Peterson Meyer '01 got the chance to be an athletic trainer for the Minnesota Lynx WNBA team, it was a dream job. Meyer played basketball at Cornell, and now is a physical therapist and athletic trainer in Minneapolis. For a year, she traveled with the team, doing both physical therapy and athletic training. Two years ago, though, she had a son and decided to stop travelling with the team. So now she works with Lynx players as the team's physical therapist, something she still enjoys. "I've gotten to work with some of the best athletes and women basketball players in the world," she said.
Darrell Aaron '05
After recruiting students to Cornell for five years, Darrell Aaron '05 (he's the first alum in the 12,000-plus A-Z Cornell alumni database) is headed to Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., for graduate school. The assistant director for admission and financial assistance is entering a master's program in education, with an emphasis on higher education administration. From there he will either continue on for a doctorate, or return to the field of college admission. At Cornell he advised the student lacrosse team and played in the Monday-Friday noon faculty-staff basketball league. He leaves Mount Vernon roommate Darius Ballard '07 but will be joined in Cambridge by colleague and friend Robyn Schwab '07.
Adrian Golobic '07
When Adrian Golobic '07 traveled to China for the first time in the fall of '07, he and Brian and Jeanee Linden created The Linden Centre in an old, nationally protected courtyard home in China's Yunnan province. The Center is a retreat for stepping back in time, for losing one's self in a culture as old as the greatest in the world, and to be inspired to create and learn. Golobic wrote from China, "To be learning and traveling to such an enthralling area of the world, to witness firsthand the greatest economic upheaval in modern history, to be involved with historical and cultural altruism, and to create a business and organization from scratch; I couldn't have possibly asked for more."