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Lifetime of learning

  Alumni Profile  

Marge Littell Schmiel ’41 stays young by surrounding herself with the best and brightest youth from around the world.

Lately, Schmiel has kept herself busy working with more than 210 interns from 60 countries at the Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Fla. Her latest experience with young people is just another project in a lifetime that has emphasized both learning and teaching. She has advanced degrees in sociology and theology and taught sociology in the University of Wisconsin system and at Mundelein College Chicago.

“I’ve been going to school all my life,” says Schmiel. “I’ve taken courses every place I’ve been. I enjoy working with other people who like to learn. Sharing learning experiences with others makes them doubly rich.”

Schmiel has worked with social projects, volunteer groups, and youth for 60 years, beginning with summer work camps that were the forerunner of VISTA and including the Friends Neighborhood Guild, the YWCA, and as director of the Chicago Area Network for Growth and Energy.

She grew up on the Cornell campus where her father, professor Clair “Judge” Littell, taught history for 30 years. She has four Cornellian siblings—Franklin Littell ’37, Wallace Littell ’47, Claire Littell Stout ’47, and Eloise Littell Reinhardt ’53 — as well as her mother, Lena Hamlin Littell ’53, and a niece, Miriam “Mimi” Littell ’67. She has served on the Alumni Board, recently facilitated a Cornell class visit to Selby Gardens, and remains a major contributor to the college.

She and Edgar Schmiel, her husband of 56 years, have one daughter.

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