Welcome to the Alumni Class of 1979



Check Out Upcoming Fall Events

Red Hot Hockey

Join your '79 classmates on the Saturday after Thanksgiving at Madison Square Garden in New York City for Red Hot Hockey when Cornell takes on BU! The Class of '79 has purchased 60 tickets in Section 119 to this year's game.

Date: Saturday, November 25, 2017

Time: 8:00 p.m.

Location: Madison Square Garden, New York

Ticket Details:
• Ticket prices are $79 and $59. You can contact Mary Grainger by email, mmgithaca@aol.com, or phone, 607-280-4380, with your tickets request and mail her your check, or you can purchase your ticket on line.
• To purchase on line, CLICK HERE.
• There will be a $6 postage charge per order.
• Tickets will be issued on a "first come, first served" basis.
• You will receive an email confirmation that we have received your order. Tickets will be mailed in early October by USPS Priority Certified Mail Receipt. 

Questions? Contact: Mary Grainger at mmgithaca@aol.com
Visit the Cornell Hockey site

There is also the option of pre-game reception with the Classes of the 70’s.  Please click here to register. 

After the Red Hot Hockey game, some classmates and friends will meet “dutch treat” at Rock and Reilly’s in the Renaissance New York Midtown Hotel.


Jeff Berg Honored with Frank H.T. Rhodes Exemplary Alumni Service Award

Former Class President and Alumni Trustee Jeff Berg was honored on Saturday, October 21 with presentation of the Frank H.T. Rhodes Exemplary Alumni Service Award.  This award recognizes alumni who have given long-term volunteer service to Cornell. Jeff joins other recent classmates to receive this award, including Ted Teng, Mary and Brad Grainger and Ginger So. Several '79 classmates were at the presentation with Jeff.

Class of '79 FHTR Exemplary Alumni Service Award presentation attendees
front, l to r: Ginger So, Jeff Berg, Mary Grainger, Cindy Green,  Danna Levy, Jeff Weiss
back, l to r: Steve Magacs, Mark Wilson, Brad Grainger, Lisa Hoyt, Dan Mansoor
missing: Zena Saunders

Class of '79 Summer '17 Newsletter

Introducing our New Class Logo: Many thanks to Class reunion co-chair Karen Mineo for working with our classmate and designer Debby Yowell Alberts to create our new class logo (see below).  Look for Debby’s design to be featured on class communications through our 2019 40th reunion. 

Classmate Transforms Business Education at Cornell: A historic $150 million gift from H. Fisk Johnson ’79, M.Eng. ’80, M.S. ’82, MBA ’84, Ph.D. ’86 -- and the SC Johnson Company -- has transformed business education at Cornell.  This gift, which represents the largest single contribution to the Ithaca campus and the second largest U.S. business school naming gift, has resulted in the creation of the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business.  Cornell’s three existing business programs (the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, the School of Hotel Administration, and the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management) will now operate under this new integrated umbrella.  Cornell’s combined business faculty is now the third-largest business education faculty in the U.S.  Among other classmates involved in the SC Johnson College of Business are:

  • Dyson Undergraduate Program Advisory Council members: Alejandro Baez-Sacasa '79 and Charles G. Lill '79

  • Johnson School Advisory Council: Mark L. Wilson ’79, MBA ’80 (member); Jeffrey F. Berg ’79, M.Eng. ’80, MBA ’81 and Lisa K. Fernow ’79, MBA ’84 (emeritus members) 

  • Faculty members: Warren Bailey ’79 (Professor of Finance, Johnson Graduate School of Management) and Rod Hawkes ’79, MBA ’88 (Senior Extension Associate, Dyson School)

Class of 1979 Scholarship Bestowed to Legacy Student: For the past 19 years, Dan Mansoor (Class of ‘79 Cornell Annual Fund Representative, Scholarship) has issued an appeal each May seeking support for The Class of 1979 Memorial Scholarship. Established by our class officers in 1999, this endowed scholarship honors the memory of all deceased alumni of our class. Through the ongoing generosity of our classmates, the scholarship has raised $243,867 (as of March 2017). The annual payout provides a single scholarship to a deserving student, with priority given to classmates’ children.  The current recipient is Kelsey Bobrow ’19, daughter of Rich Bobrow ’79.  Class co-Vice President for Communications, Mary Maxon Grainger, reports the following:

Kelsey Bobrow has finished her sophomore year in the College of Human Ecology studying Human Development with a minor in Law & Society. Through her courses and experiences, she has become increasingly interested in the relationship between law, social justice, advocacy, and human development. 

Kelsey works as one of the Sprint Football managers, and is a member of the psychology honor society, Psi Chi, and the Pi Beta Phi sorority. Last summer, she interned at the Legal Aid Society in the Manhattan Juvenile Rights Practice, and this year she will work in a federal agency.  Working closely with social workers and attorneys, she has learned to advocate for juvenile clients who were involved in abuse, neglect and/or delinquency proceedings. "The internship was life changing. The stories I heard and things I experienced first-hand only furthered my passion and desire to use my Cornell education to help people, especially children," expressed Kelsey.

In her junior year, Kelsey hopes to study abroad (possibly in London) during her spring semester.  Her older sister graduated from Cornell and her twin brother is also a Cornell sophomore studying Environmental Science and Sustainability. 

Kelsey Bobrow '19 

Class Endowment Supports Digital Library:  For the past two decades, our class has supported another “pet” project: Cornell’s digital library. Mary Maxon Grainger provided the following report on this class fundraising effort:

Approximately 20 years ago, the Class of 1979 began raising funds to create the “Class of 1979 Library Endowment” for electronic digital resources for the Cornell University Library system. Our class’ support of the library was initiated when class leadership asked classmate Mary Anderson Ochs (current Director of Mann Library, and previously affiliated with Uris and Olin libraries) for suggestions on how we could have an impact on Cornell.  She suggested digital library resources.  Expenditures from the fund have been available since 2001, when the fund’s book value was $13,064 and $659 was available for Library support.  Currently, the book value is $45,738, which provides $2,342 to be used for support.

In 2017, the available funds will be used to upgrade the Library’s Safari Books Online account that provides access to more than 21,000 digital books and videos on topics ranging from programming to IT networking to project management to graphic design to business strategy. The content includes code snippets, certification preparation materials, practice exercises, training videos, and much more. Users can search thousands of books simultaneously online, saving time and quickly finding the information they need.

Contributions to the Class of 1979 Library Endowment can be made as follows:

  • Online: Follow instructions at https://www.giving.cornell.edu/.  Include the name of the fund (Class of 1979 Library Endowment) and the fund number (400216) in the comments section.

  •  Via Regular Mail: Make checks payable to Cornell University.  Include the fund name and number (see Internet instructions above) in the memo section.
    Mail to: 
       Cornell University
       Box 37334
       Boone, IA  50037-0334

Join Our Big Birthday Bash in NYC: Class co-Vice Presidents of Regional Events, Deb Waterman Johns and Cynthia Green, have been working out the details for a 60th Birthday celebration for classmates and guests to take place in November in New York City. The venue and details are still in the works, but be on the lookout in coming months for additional information via email and class social media platforms. 

Class Membership Update: Mary Wilensky Kahn, class Vice President for Membership, has supplied the following update and appeal for members:

The Class of 1979 has a dues goal this year to reach…525 classmates!! We currently have 251 members that have already paid and an opportunity for 211 classmates to help us reach our goal. We are at 60% and hope others will help us hit 525 or higher.  Some of you may receive calls from Cornell students who are participating in a phonathon to remind you to renew your class dues.  If you are interested in reaching out to friends from your freshman dorm, college, sorority or fraternity, or affinity club, please contact me and I will try to make those connections. (mary.w.kahn@gmail.com) Getting reacquainted with other Cornellians can be a lot fun; It's interesting to see where your Cornell friends are living, working, or retiring!

Reunion Update:  Class Reunion Co-Chairs Karen Mineo and Steve Magacs have begun the planning process and Karen has issued the following statement:  

The Class of ’79 will be celebrating our 40th reunion at Cornell, June 6-9, 2019.  Please save the date and plan on going back to see old friends and make new ones.  Steve Magacs and Karen Mineo are putting together a 40th Reunion Team that will be assisting with selecting venues, menus and activities for the big reunion.  

Thanks to Deb Waterman Johns, we have our Scout Wine/Picnic Cooler souvenir selected.  Ginger So is our catering chair and Larry Stone is our Registrar and reunion budget chair.  We are looking for classmates who would like to approach ’79 classmates who own wineries in the Finger Lakes, so we can give everyone who attends reunion wine with their Scout cooler.  Other classmates who own businesses can also be approached to see if we can receive donations, as in the past.  If you are interested in helping with reunion, please contact K_Mineo@yahoo.com. 

Save These Dates!

2017 Reunion Weekend:  For those who wish to experience Cornell at its late-spring best, consider making last-minute plans to attend Reunion 2017 weekend from June 8 - 11. Come enjoy the events as well as all the Ithaca area has to offer. See http://www.alumni.cornell.edu/reunion for details. 

Inauguration of President Martha E. Pollock: A two-day celebration has been scheduled on the Ithaca campus for August 24- 25 to mark the inauguration of Cornell’s 14th president.  Details regarding planned events are available at http://www.inauguration.cornell.edu.  If you intend to be in Ithaca at that time, contact Mary Maxon Grainger at mmgithaca@aol.com for information concerning a possible informal gathering of classmates on Thursday, August 24.

Homecoming Weekend, October 20-21: Though plans are still in formation, mark your calendars for two days of celebrating with fellow classmates and the University community at large.  Big Red football versus Brown will take place at 3:00 pm on Saturday, October 21, and the annual fireworks display and fan festival will once again be part of the weekend festivities. Check back with http://www.homecoming.cornell.edu in August for a list of the weekend’s events, and watch for class announcements via email, Facebook and Twitter regarding events planned specifically for the Class of ’79, including the yearly post-fireworks gathering of classmates at Statler.

GIVING UPDATE - Keep the Generosity Coming:  Once again, it’s time to appeal to all to contribute to the University’s annual campaign so our class can uphold our reputation for record-breaking generosity. Mark Wilson (Class of '79 Cornell Annual Fund Representative, Major Gifts) offers the following appeal to classmates:

Cornell’s fiscal year ends on June 30, 2017.  If you have not already done so, please “pay it forward: and “feed the bear.”  Our predecessors helped underwrite the Cornell education that we all benefited from.  Please do the same for current and future students.  ANY AMOUNT IS GREATLY APPRECIATED.

Remember, continuous support is particularly important as we approach our 40th reunion. If you contributed annually since 2014, your ongoing support over the next two years will help us qualify once again for the Class of ’79 Cup for Donor Loyalty presented during reunion ‘19 weekend. To donate, use any of the giving options below:

Further information, including matching gift eligibility and giving society levels, can be found at  https://giving.cornell.edu/waystogive/

Be In Touch: For more information, content suggestions for future newsletters, or any questions concerning the above, please contact Danna Levy, newsletter editor and class co-Vice President, Communications (DannaRLevy@gmail.com); to contribute content for class social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), please contact Mary Maxon Grainger, co-Vice President, Communications (mmgithaca@aol.com); for class website, contact Larry Stone, class Webmaster (lds11@cornell.edu). Send additional questions or comments regarding the Class to classof79@cornell.edu and we'll forward them to the appropriate person.

40th Reunion - June 2019

Our 40th Reunion will be held June 6th to June 9th, 2019. More information will be available in the months leading up to Reunion. Reunion chairs Karen Mineo and Steve Magacs are just getting started with the planning but would love to hear from you with your ideas as well as your offer to be one of the many volunteers needed to make Reunion a success. Karen and Steve are particularly looking for someone to manage our headquarters and class clerks (students hired to help us run the weekend).

40th Reunion Committee


Karen Mineo
Steve Magacs

Registrar / Budget

Larry Stone


Ginger So
Steve Magacs


Deb Waterman Johns


Danna Levy Riback
Mary Maxon Grainger


Lisa Barsanti Hoyt

Welcome Back My Friends...

Our 35th Reunion was June 5-8, 2014

Over 340 classmates and guests!
Over $32 million raised for Cornell!
See the Class Photo!


Selected images of our 35th Reunion events captured by 3D Cinemation, set to "Welcome Back My Friends" (as sung by Marsha Mortkowitz Schreier '79 on June 5, 2014)

Images of Cornell from 1975-79 were shown on the Schoellkopf Stadium Jumbotron.

President Emeritus Frank H.T. Rhodes spoke in the same location he did on Commencement Day 1979.

Touchdown the Bear and the Big Red Marching Band serenaded us.

"I Remember You, Cornell" was written and performed by Marsha Mortkowitz Schreier '79.

What do we remember about Cornell from our era, and what's happened since then? Cornell trivia with Corey Ryan Earle '07!

35 Distinguished Classmates Named

At our 25th and 30th Reunions, we honored a wide variety of classmates (55 in total) for their accomplishments since graduation. We are proud to announce our 35 additional Distinguished Classmates who were recognized at this Reunion. Click http://79classmates.net to link to the Distinguished Classmate website so you can review the bios and photos of the 35, as well as to see updates from the 55 previously named. We hope you enjoy reading about your classmates with whom you shared undergraduate years and are moved by their accomplishments and what they have given back to their communities.

2014-2019 Class Officers


Jeff Weiss


Lisa Barsanti Hoyt

VP-Regional Events

Deb Waterman Johns

Cindy Green


Larry Stone


Mary Wilensky Kahn


Danna Levy Riback
Mary Maxon Grainger


Margie Wang

Reunion Co-Chairs

Karen Mineo

Steve Magacs

Class Correspondents

Kathy Zappia Gould

Cindy Ahlgren Shea

Linda Moses

Recording Secretary

Janet Goldin Rubin

Cornell Fund

Cindy Williams

Nancy Sverdlik

Cornell Fund - Major Gifts

Mark Wilson
Rick & Linda Merrill Ely

Brad Grainger
Rhonda Carniol

Cornell Fund - Scholarship

Daniel Mansoor

Nominating Chair

Jeffrey Berg

1979 Calendar

Sunday, November 19, 2017 to Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Class Events

View full calendar