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Alumni Profiles

Richard A. Houden '43

It took Richard A. Houden '43 three years and three sports to make the Hall of Fame at Cornell, but it only took one semester and one sport for him to make the hall at the University of Wisconsin. The dual membership makes Houden, who lives in Madison, Wis., one of a very few athletes in two collegiate halls of fame. He played football and basketball and ran track while at Cornell, but left to fight in World War II. After the war he transferred to Wisconsin, where he played football and ran track, the sport which won him his entry into the university's hall of fame. He tied the American indoor record in 70-yard dash and the Olympic and National junior record of 10.4 seconds in 100-meter dash in 1947, as well as being named a two-time All-American in his only season at Wisconsin.

Richard A. Houden '43

John McConnell '48

John McConnell '48 said his children have taken to calling him "The World's Oldest First-time Author." Maybe that isn't true, but McConnell, who's 86, did just get his first book—the result of more than 20 years of work and statistical analysis—published by MacFarland and Company. The book, "Cooperstown by the Numbers: An Analysis of Baseball Hall of Fame Elections," is a resource for baseball fans, but the data gathering started as a way for McConnell to learn to use a computer back when computer input was done with punch cards. McConnell, who lives in Long Beach, Calif., a Cornell Athletic Hall of Famer, was the first baseball coach at Long Beach State University. He'd kept the data for years, but it wasn't till after his retirement that he thought it might be a good book.

John McConnell '48

Tom Rickhoff '66 and Becky Beverlin Rickhoff '66

Retirement often means traveling, but not the way Tom Rickhoff '66 and Becky Beverlin Rickhoff '66 of Mears, Mich., did it. The couple spent the fall with Tom biking across the country and Becky following in a camper to scout out locations for them to spend the night. The trip raised money for Herbalife Family Foundation, which provides healthy nutrition to at-risk children and assists with disaster relief. They set off from Santa Monica, Calif., on Sept. 7 and arrived in St. Augustine, Fla., on Nov. 12. They chronicled their journey on a Facebook page, sharing pictures and weekly updates with more than 200 people. Tom rode five days a week, averaging nearly 70 miles each day, and Becky spent the time while he was riding finding things for them to do on the weekends.

The Rickhoffs

Rob Ash '73

Rob Ash '73 was elected president of the American Football Coaches Association for 2011. Ash, who previously served as vice-president for the organization, recently completed his fourth season as head coach at Montana State, guiding the Bobcats to a 9-3 record. Before Montana State, Ash spent 18 years as head football coach at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and nine years as head football coach at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa. Ash lettered three years in football (1970-72) and tennis (1971-73) at Cornell. He remained on the Hilltop and held roles as assistant football coach, head men's tennis coach, sports information director, assistant basketball coach, full-time faculty member, and intramurals director until 1980. Ash's four-year stint as a football assistant produced Midwest Conference championships in 1976 and 1978. He's married to Margaret Burke Ash '80 and the couple have two children: Scott, 26, and Kelly, 23. 

Rob Ash '73

Steve DeAngeles '84

Most people know Steve DeAngeles '84 as a doctor, but he's also an inventor with three patents. And he's on the cutting edge of a medical trend. Ten years ago he became the first doctor in Illinois to drop insurance companies and adopt a cash-only practice, converting his Chicago internal medicine practice completely in 2006. Now he sees 20 percent of his patients for free, and the others pay set fees. "Why have Medicare pay for billionaires' health?" he says. "Patients like it better, I'm happier. And as a doctor, you can give as much pro bono care as you want." In his spare time he's keeping the planet green. "I had a patient who needed a pacemaker. I explained that when his heart rate goes below 60 it kicks in," he recalls. "After work I was driving by a wind farm on a bright sunny day and none were spinning. I thought, 'Why not put a pacemaker on a windmill'?" He figured out how to do that, and holds three patents. The DeAngeles family is wonderfully Cornell-centric. Steve and his wife, Sallie Marotta DeAngeles '86, have raised three daughters (see picture). His father is Robert DeAngeles '58, a dentist in Melrose Park, Ill., and his brother is David DeAngeles '85 (Shawn Krueger '87), a surgeon in Madison.

Jen Klein O'Keefe '98

Rebecca Goldsmith '06

Rebecca Goldsmith '06 will be in Las Vegas in June, but she won't be gambling—though she will be competing. Goldsmith will be representing Iowa in the annual Miss USA pageant. When she first began the journey of competing, she couldn't pinpoint the answer to the number one question she heard—Why? "Six competitions, nine trophies, seven evening gowns and countless indelible friendships later, I can tell you why," she said. "I compete to experience life, acquire skills, and redeposit what I've learned back into society." Preparing for the June pageant has been nearly a full-time job, she said, and has included travelling the state learning about different charitable causes, and spending time with a team helping her with interview skills, dress design, and more. The most memorable part of being Miss Iowa so far, she said, was taking part in the Variety Telethon, which raised more than $3 million for the children of Iowa. The Miss USA Pageant airs on June 19.

Rebecca Goldsmith '06

Alida Ogren-Gunderson '10

If many Americans were watching the events in Egypt unfold in January and February, Alida Ogren-Gunderson '10 was watching closer than most, because her husband was among those demonstrating. Ogren-Gunderson left Egypt the day before the demonstrations started, and she plans to return—permanently—in May. She credits Cornell with the trip that changed her life. She spent the last two blocks of her senior year studying Arabic in Egypt and one of the first people she met was Hassan Selim, her Arabic tutor, who would go on to become her husband. During the demonstrations, she worried about Selim's safety, but she also knew he was doing the right thing. Now she's anxious and excited to get back to Egypt and work with Selim educating people about politics and democracy. "I never imagined I'd have any sort of personal relationship to a revolution," she said. If you would like to know more about the projects she and her husband are working on or would like to be involved, you may e-mail her directly at alidabree@gmail.com

Alida Ogren-Gunderson '10
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