Cornell Club of Washington

 

Annual Report

It is my pleasure to share with you the Cornell Club of Washington’s annual report for the program year ending June 30, 2015.

CAAAN

CAAAN, the Cornell Alumni Admissions Ambassador Network, is a group of active alumni volunteers who meet with prospective students to share information about the university, attend college fairs to field questions, and interact with accepted students to encourage them to pursue an undergraduate education at Cornell.  

CAAAN volunteers were extremely busy arranging contacts with exceptional applicants from hundreds of high schools throughout our region. While acceptance rates vary somewhat by area and high school, we are pleased to say that 278 applicants from suburban Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia high schools were admitted to Cornell this year.

Janet Cornfeld also organized our annual CCW-sponsored accepted students’ reception held in Washington D.C. This is always a successful event which draws students and parents from across the region, and gives attendees an opportunity to hear from and ask questions of Cornell alumni, parents, and current students as they choose where to enroll. This year, nearly half of northern VA, MD and DC admitted students have chosen to enroll in Cornell’s Class of 2019.

This year, Cornell received 41,907 applications, the second highest applicant pool in university history. A total of 6,234 applicants were admitted, and 3,590 were offered a place on the waiting list.

A record number of admitted students this year – 1,605, or 25.7 percent of the admitted freshman class – self-identify as underrepresented minorities. In addition, Cornell has admitted its highest-ever percentages of students of color. The admitted reside in all 50 states plus Washington, D.C., Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands – and in 79 countries outside the U.S., making the Class of 2019 the most diverse and international in Cornell’s 150 year history.

This class also includes more than 700 first-generation students, more than 800 Cornell legacies and more than 200 recruited athletes.  The overall admission rate (among both early decision and regular decision candidates selected for admission) was 14.9 percent of applicants. 

The summer freshmen sendoff picnic, held at Judy and Gary Kopff’s home in Washington, DC, which has been organized by the Kopffs and Janet Cornfeld, MD CAAAN Chair, for many years, drew a robust attendance, providing an opportunity for freshmen to meet and mingle, ask questions of recent alumni, and generally be better prepared for their first days on campus.

Thanks to Janet Cornfeld and Matt Nieman, CAAAN chairs for Maryland/DC and northern Virginia, respectively, for their continued dedication to CAAAN and for their attendance at our board meetings to keep the club up to date on admissions activities. CAAAN is looking for Cornellians to share the ever-rising number of applicant contacts, so if you are interested, please get in touch with Janet or Matt, and spread the word to your alumni classmates and friends.

Community Service

CCW had another excellent year of service, with more than 150 separate alumni volunteers attending 14 separate events in the DC area. These events took place in DC, VA, and MD, and covered the causes of poverty reduction (mostly in the form of food banks and produce-picking farm events), pet events (including adoption events, facility care events, and donation drives), and environmental integrity (including environmental cleanups and tree plantings). 

CCW celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month with a co-sponsored community service event with the Cornell Latino Alumni Association at a Catholic Charities emergency shelter. Over 40 alumni attended our sesquicentennial service event in November, where they cleaned the entire facility for the Washington Animal Rescue League, donated over 400 pounds of pet care items, and listened to updates from the College of Veterinary Medicine Dean Michael Kotlikoff and Dr. Elizabeth Berliner from Cornell’s Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program. 

Fall Service Weekend volunteers picked 1/3 to 1/2 ton of apples for area food bank and frequent partner Arlington Food Assistance Center. Our alumni volunteer hours mean a tremendous amount to food banks. We anticipate another “fruitful” year thanks to our dedicated alumni volunteers.

May 16th marked one year since the passing of our friend and active CCW member, Lieutenant Colonel Michele Sundin.  To honor her contributions to helping wounded soldiers, veterans, and their families as part of the Warrior Transition Command, CCW is planning a memorial community service event this summer.  Stay tuned for more details.

Thanks to Laura Gonzales Meyers and the community service team leaders, event coordinators, and participants for a successful service year!

Finance/Investment and Audit

For the fiscal year ending June 2015, the club will again close its books with an operating surplus.  This comes primarily from our many special events, which collectively generated several thousand dollars in net revenue, and from gains in our investment accounts.

Membership dues remain important for covering the club’s operating expenses, which are approximately $12,000 per year.  This revenue stream appears to be stabilizing after a few years of variability, resulting from the 3-year membership option.  We have also reduced some of our expenses to match, notably the monthly newsletter, for which printing and mailing had been our largest single expense.

The CCW Board, acting on the recommendation of the Investment and Audit Committee, was able to transfer $37,000, representing scholarship donations and operating surpluses from the last couple of years, to CCW’s scholarship endowment at Cornell, laying the groundwork for the establishment of an additional scholarship.  In June, we will move an additional sum of money to Ithaca, representing proceeds from this year’s scholarship gala in February. The Investment and Audit Committee also performed an audit from the last two years of books and reorganized the investment of the Life Membership Fund, consistent with the objective of investing the money in stable funds with reasonable returns. 

We look forward to another successful fiscal year in 2015-2016. Thanks to our outgoing Treasurer, Paul Coelus, Eliot Greenwald, Chair, and the entire Investment and Audit Committee, for their careful stewardship of the club’s finances.

Membership

The Membership Committee continues to benefit from the enthusiasm of local alumni and their interest in participating in CCW activities. Participation rates continue to grow across all of our membership categories.

We currently have:

953 active members, including:

  • 296 life members
  • Almost 400 individual members
  • More than 180 recently graduated members
  • Over 150 couples memberships

The club offers 1 year, 3 year, and Life Membership options to Cornell graduates, parents of Cornellians, and friends of our club.  We are grateful to all of the members of CCW who are in the room tonight and who support the club throughout the year.  We are particularly pleased with the involvement of our Recent Alumni, as these future leaders can become our next generation of CCW Board Members.  We encourage each of you to continue your involvement in the future by renewing your membership on our website or encouraging your friends to become active members.

We would like to thank our membership committee - Liz Herman, Marc Johnson, and co-Vice Presidents of Membership, Terry Horner and Drew McElhare, for all of their efforts.

Programming

The Programming Committee had another busy year. As one of the world’s most active alumni clubs, CCW featured over 200 events this past year, an average of 3 to 4 events per week. Most of our events are home-grown - planned and executed by local volunteers. This past year, more than 30 volunteers played major roles in the Committee, either leading events themselves or helping other event leaders with larger projects. That is a record high for the number of event leaders we’ve had in one year! We would like to thank these helping hands for their continued commitment to the club and Committee.

I reported last year that the committee was working to bring further diversity to our programs- in size, content, and participation. I am pleased to report that we have made good progress in this area. The Committee identified ten broad areas of interest for our participants and worked with our volunteers to provide never-before-offered opportunities to our members and guests. 

Here are just a few highlights of the program year: 

  • A bus tour featuring Ezra Cornell’s ties with the DC region
  • A “taste talk” and supper at the Macon Bistro & Larder featuring a Cornell alumnus chef
  • A panel discussion at the Smithsonian’s Folk Life Festival on current issues faced by Chinatowns in American cities
  • A quilt collage workshop at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art
  • A lecture on the effects of climate change on agriculture featuring College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Associate Dean Michael Hoffman
  • A behind-the-scenes preview of the Flying Dutchman at the Washington National Opera
  • A night of silent movies at the Avalon Theater, celebrating Ed Berkowitz ’56, and the 100th anniversary of silent movies in Ithaca

We also hosted small potluck dinners, thanks to volunteers who generously opened their homes, and staged larger social gatherings such as happy hours and sports games. We continue to provide ticket opportunities for sold-out performances in the DC region throughout the year. Additionally, the club continued its collaboration with alumni affairs and the colleges on several successful events, this year mainly focusing on the sesquicentennial. 

The Committee is always looking to add to our roster of event leaders and volunteers. We welcome anyone with great ideas and energy to attend one of our Programming Committee meetings, held immediately before the monthly board meetings the second Tuesday of every month at the Cornell Center, 6:30 PM. Also keep an eye out for our larger Programming Committee brainstorming meeting, to be held in the fall, to plan our 2015-2016 calendar.

Thank you to Steve Piekarec, Katherine Stifel, and Sara Kim Keller, Vice Presidents for programming, and to the entire programming committee, for a very successful year.

Scholarship

The Scholarship Committee hosted the Third Annual Celebration of Scholarship Gala in February of this year at the Historic SunTrust Bank building, with 100 guests and over $19,000 raised, the highest attendance and money raised of any Gala to date. Many esteemed guests were in attendance, including University President Emeritus Hunter Rawlings and Mrs. Elizabeth Trapnell Rawlings, who served as this year's Honorary Gala Co-Chair and gave the keynote address. Guests also enjoyed live music from the Seth Kibel Trio '96 and Olivia Moore '12. 

The Committee also awarded 10 scholarships to students from the Washington area and attending the Cornell-in-Washington Program.  Recipients included several members of the Big Red Marching Band, a Hunter R. Rawlings III Presidential Research Scholar, a Site Director for the Let's Get Ready National Tutoring Program, the founder of Cornell's South Asian Council, and a Student Hunger Relief Volunteer.  Each of the awardees exemplifies exceptional work ethic, both in the classroom and through volunteer and extracurricular activities on campus.

Thanks to Dorsy Yoffie and Mark Skerry, our co-Vice Presidents of Scholarship and gala committee co-chairs, and to all of the members of our scholarship and gala committees.

Technology

This year, the Club broke the goal of 1,500 "likes" on the Facebook page, started the "Cornell Classifieds" board to share rides, job postings, roommate searches and more, and shared over 150 photos. Additionally, we continue to use LinkedIn and to work on evaluating and updating our website.

We acquired a projector with help from Jim Schoonmaker to complement the club’s audio system, allowing us to save money for some of our events over the long-term.

Thank you to Dan Murphy for his work on the website, Lindsay Schattenstein for her work with social media, Monica Marusceac and for the latter half of the year, Renee Gewercman, for their work as Vice Presidents of the Newsletter, Sathi Soma for helping us document our events and preserve memories with photos, and to all who share and post on our various social media outlets.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the club has had a great year.  I credit this success to an enthusiastic and engaged board, committee chairs, and active members who participate in the planning and execution of all manner of club mechanics.  It has truly been my privilege to serve as your President for the last two years; I feel privileged to have been able to work with the club on so many interesting and exciting projects, including the celebration of Cornell’s Sesquicentennial. I look forward to the contributions of our incoming board and to supporting them as they see fit.

I look forward to seeing you at an event soon!

Warm regards,

A’ndrea Van Schoick, DVM

CCW President, 2013-2015

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