Cornell alumni moved to Washington from the earliest years of the university. The March 11, 1908, Cornell Alumni News refers to a “Cornell Alumni Association of the District of Columbia,” and the April 13, 1916, issue reports the renamed Cornell Club of Washington was operating a men's club at 1504 H Street, NW. But no records have been found for Club activities prior to 1945.
For many years, the Cornell Club of Washington (men) and the Cornell Women’s Club each sponsored its own programs and activities. Between 1964 and1966, the two groups formed joint committees to discuss merging. On December 6, 1965, both boards approved a merger agreement and a referendum vote was mailed to the alumni. The two presidents at the time, Edwin Miller ’35 and Lori Eisenberg ’50, completed their terms.
The following academic year (1966-67), Phillip Fleming ’52 was elected the first president of the newly consolidated group. In 1970, under President Edward Berkowitz ’56, the club was incorporated in the District of Columbia as the Cornell Club of Washington, Inc. As stated in the October 1965 revised constitution, the purpose of the club is “to foster mutual acquaintance, friendship and sociability of persons who have been associated with Cornell University.” Over the years, CCW has done that and much more through its many scholarship, outreach, social, and community service activities. The Club continues to promote and support the values and goals of the university in the greater Washington area for the benefit of alumni, students, faculty, administration and friends.
The Cornell Club of Washington maintains an office in the ground level of the Cornell Center at 2148 O Street NW, Washington, D.C., home to the Cornell in Washington program. The CCW Board of Directors meets at the Cornell Center on the second Tuesday of each month, except in the summer. Meetings are open to all Cornellians. A newsletter describing upcoming events and recent activities is published and sent to all members ten times a year.
Activities and programs have varied through the years. Admissions-related activities (CAAAN) involve many of CCW’s volunteers. Fundraising is another major activity, as is scholarship support for local students. Community service projects addressing hunger, housing, and environmental concerns, as well as a weekly public school tutoring program, attract many Club members. Other activities include educational programs and tours, a job bank and career mentoring, book awards to local high school juniors, hosting of international students, and an exciting, varied social program that includes events for young and old, singles and families, from hiking to embassy tours to Zinck’s Night. Annual activities include the March International Student Visit, May annual dinner, June picnic (traditionally held at the farm of Austin Kiplinger ’39), and an event featuring a faculty speaker.
Some activities are co-sponsored or shared with Cornell University, other Ivy League alumni groups, the Cornell Hotel Society, the Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell Law School, Cornell Society of Engineers, alumni classes, the undergraduate colleges, Cornell Club of Maryland (Baltimore), and other affiliated alumni organizations.
The Cornell Club of Washington is a member of the Cornell Alumni Federation, an umbrella organization that promotes and supports the well being of alumni clubs, classes, and affinity groups. The Club sends a representative to Federation meetings, which are held three times a year, usually in New York or Ithaca.
The Cornell Club of Washington looks forward to an active and fulfilling future, and the continued interest and support of all local alumni.