Welcome to the Alumni Class of 1979



Nominations Now Open for Distinguished Classmates Program

Nominations are now open for the next installment of our Distinguished Classmates Program - DCM 4.0 that will be celebrated as part of our 40th reunion. We will be identifying 40 more classmates to add to the 25 identified at our 25th reunion, 30 at our 30th, and 35 at our 35th.  This will bring the total to 130 classmates. The nomination form is available right below - return instructions are included.  Nominations will close on September 30, 2018. 



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 Winter '17-18 Newsletter

Happy Birthday to Us!: Nearly 60 classmates were present for a collective 60th birthday celebration in New York City. Planned by class Co-Vice Presidents of Regional Events, Cindy Green and Deb Waterman Johns, the evening included a tour of the new Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island, followed by a dinner at Riverwalk Bar & Grill. Thanks to Deb, attendees received a special party favor -- red and white Scout cooler bags.

Class President Jeff Weiss reported the following recap of the evening: 

The tour revealed the academic aspirations, the architectural inspiration and the energy integrations implemented by Cornell. The casual dinner setting and delicious food enabled good conversation. Thanks to Cindy Green and Deb Johns for such a lovely evening.

Cornell Tech's Bloomberg Center with the Queensboro Bridge behind it

Our Cornell Tech tour starts in the lobby of the Bloomberg Center

Happy Birthday to Us!

Co-organizers Deb Waterman-Johns and Cindy Green with Class President Jeff Weiss; Thanks to Deb for the Scout Bag party favors

Left photo l to r: Cindy Green, Karen Mineo, Lorri Feldman Katz, Debra Kishinsky Lewis, Jeri Appel, Mark Appel
Right photo l to r: Rich Bobrow, Tom Helling, Scott Smith, Patty Garr, Deb Waterman Johns, Karen Mineo, Cindy Green, Karen Levine, Heidi Smith

Left photo l to r: Heidi Miller, Nancy Sverdlik, Brian Miller, Cindy Green, Rick Solazzo, Liz Kisken Solazzo
Right photo l to r: Young Mi Park, Rebecca Mazin, Sheila Mossman, Linda Moses, Cindy Green, Karen Matrunich

Left photo l to r: Mary Maxon Grainger, Larry Stone, Cindy Green, Brad Grainger, Jennifer Grabow Brito
Right photo l to r: Cindy Green, Zena Saunders, Jody Bier Lawrence, Rich Friedman

Classmate Receives Cornell's Highest Alumni Service Honor: Kudos to Jeff Berg ’79, MEng ’80, MBA ’81, recipient of the Frank H.T. Rhodes Exemplary Alumni Service Award. Jeff was recognized for serving Cornell in multiple roles, including: alumni-elected trustee; 13-year member of the Dean’s Advisory Council of the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management; and vice president, director-at-large, and trustee representative for the Cornell Association of Class Officers (CACO). Additionally, Jeff has supported the Class of ’79 as immediate past president and nominating chair, major gifts chair, major gifts committee member, reunion committee member, and leader of the class’ Distinguished Classmates reunion recognition program. Jeff continues to serve on the board of eCornell, the University’s 15 year-old online learning company.

Jeff joins a growing list of previous Class of ’79 Frank H.T. Rhodes honorees: Ginger So (2014 award), Mary Maxon Grainger and Brad Grainger (2016), and Ted Teng (2016). 

A dinner in honor of Jeff and this year’s five other Rhodes award recipients, attended by several Class of ’79 officers, was held at the Statler during Homecoming weekend. 

Class of '79 Dinner Attendees l to r: Steve Magacs, Ginger So, Jeff Berg, Mark Wilson, Mary Maxon Grainger, Brad Grainger, Cindy Green, Lisa Barsanti Hoyt, Danna Levy, Dan Mansoor, Jeff Weiss

Class of '79 Comes "Home":  Unseasonably warm weather was a welcome guest at Homecoming weekend, October 19-22. This year, Homecoming overlapped with the University’s annual Trustee Council Alumni Meeting (TCAM), increasing the number of classmates present on campus. The annual Homecoming tradition of gathering for beverages and conversation continued at the Statler on Friday evening following the fireworks and laser light show at Schoellkopf Field. As the University welcomed new president Martha Pollack, Class President Jeff Weiss took the opportunity to acknowledge President Pollack’s shared ’79 college graduation date (from Dartmouth) by presenting her with a gift: a Class of ’79 red fleece vest (first produced for classmates at our 25th reunion). Jeff provided the following reunion weekend summary:  

The classes of the ‘70’s planned a well attended tailgate party, Cornell beat Brown in a great match, the fireworks and laser light show offered amazing entertainment. Thank you Mary and Brad Grainger for continuing to plan and host Cornell ‘79 in Ithaca! In addition, on November 18 and 19, Cornell ‘79 classmates joined Cornell Mosaic in Washington, DC to celebrate diversity. Over 1,400 Cornellians enjoyed the capstone event, visiting the new National Museum of African American History and Culture at the Smithsonian. 

Class of '79 Statler gathering attendees, l to r: Jane Kornfeld Bessin, Lisa Barsanti Hoyt, Brad Grainger, Liz Kutcher Rosenstein, Dan Mansoor, Cindy Green, Sherrie Zweig, Stacy Buchler Hostein, Bob Holstein, Zena Saunders, Danna Levy, Mary Maxon Grainger, Sue Morand Meyer, Jeff Berg

Class President Jeff Weiss presents the Class of '79 gift to Cornell President Martha Pollock

Big Red Hockey in the Big Apple: Once again, classmates gathered to cheer on Big Red hockey at their annual Thanksgiving weekend appearance at Madison Square Garden. This year’s festivities included a pre-game “tailgate” for the Classes of the ‘70s at Local West, across from Penn Station, and a post-game gathering at Rock and Reillys bar. Classmates who attended the game were treated to an exciting 4-3 victory over Boston University. 

Celebrants at Local West, l to r: Alan Posklensky '77, MBA '79, Deb Seidman, Cindy Green, Janet Goldin Rubin, Nancy Sverdlik, Danna Levy, Lisa Barsanti Hoyt

40th Reunion Needs You!: With our 40th reunion (June 6-9, 2019) just 18 months away, co-chairs for the big event, Karen Mineo and Steve Magacs, have begun the planning process. Karen has issued the following statement:

Steve, Karen & Cornell reunion staff are gearing up for our reunion already by gathering classmates' thoughts and ideas. Hopefully you completed the recent reunion survey, so you can tell us what you prefer when you come back for a great weekend. We are in need of volunteers to help secure wine from local Finger Lakes wineries for the Scout wine/picnic cooler souvenir (donated by Deb Waterman Johns) that each attendee will receive. In addition, we are soliciting classmates to donate other souvenir items. We would love for classmates to contact their affinity groups to encourage others to come back to the Hill. If you are interested in helping with our reunion, please contact either Steve at steve.magacs@parkoutdoor.com or Karen at K_Mineo@yahoo.com. Thank you for helping us make this a fabulous reunion event.

Save the Date - Class Dinner in Philadelphia: The annual Cornell Alumni Leadership Conference (CALC) will take place this year in Philadelphia from February 1-3. A Class dinner for both conference attendees and any classmates planning to be in Philly that weekend will take place on Friday, February 2 at 8pm. Once finalized, details regarding the venue will be publicized via email, Facebook, and Twitter. Contact Mary Wilensky Kahn (mary.w.kahn@gmail.com) if you are interested in attending.

Class Membership Update: In the six months since Vice President for Membership Mary Wilensky Kahn appealed to classmates in our June ’17 newsletter, we have made important gains toward achieving class membership goals, moving from 60% to 79% of the target of 525 dues-paying members! Mary offers the following update:

The Class of ‘79 has a dues goal this year… to reach 525 classmates! We currently have 413 members that have already paid and an opportunity for 112 classmates to help us reach our goal. We are at 79% and hope others will help us hit 525 or higher. Remember, if it's easier you can always sign up for class dues auto-renewal so you don’t have to worry about making a yearly payment.

Some of you may have been to Cornell recently, attended a local Cornell alumni event where your live, or even visited your children who are now at Cornell… this is the time to remind you to think about Class of ‘79 alumni connections and 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 reach out to me and I will try to make those connections for you (mary.w.kahn@gmail.com). Getting reacquainted with other classmates can be a lot fun - It's interesting to see where your Cornell friends are living, working, volunteering, or retiring! I look forward to hearing from you.

Keep the Generosity Coming: Mark Wilson (Class Representative, Cornell Annual Fund, Major Gifts) is once again reaching out to classmates for generous participation in the University’s annual campaign with the following message:  

As most of us wrap up the year of our 60th Birthdays, it’s important to reflect on how fortunate we were to have a Cornell education on the hill during the late 1970’s. We benefited from a university where alumni from prior classes had generously given to make Cornell the unique undergraduate experience that it was. In that spirit, we should consider PAYING IT FORWARD to the current and future classes of Cornellianswith a gift to whichever portion of Cornell that interests us. That includes areas such as the Botanic Gardens (f/k/a Plantations), as well as academic colleges, schools, departments, and programs. In addition to US dollars, Cornell will also accept appreciated securities to help you optimize your tax strategy – contact the Cornell Development Office for more information. Lastly, don’t forget about any matching gift programs. Be sure to note that you are an alumnus of the Class of ’79 to ensure proper recording of your gift. Thank you and happy holidays.

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). If you have personal news for publication in the Class Notes section of the Cornell Alumni Magazine, contact our Class Correspondents, Linda Moses (lindakmoses@gmail.com), Kathy Zappia Gould (Kathy.gould57@gmail.com), or Cindy Ahlgren Shea (cynthiashea@hotmail.com).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

Wednesday, March 21, 2018 to Saturday, April 21, 2018

Class Events

View full calendar