Cornell Club of Arizona
2007 was an active year for our alumni group. The outlook is even better for 2008!
Our mission of having fun with a purpose continued through the second half of 2007. Active Cornellians in the area joined together to help create a number of successful events. As we share our past university experiences, participate in activities and pay our dues, we enable students from Arizona to pursue their education in Ithaca.
There are several key events that I want to review. What you may have missed can be attended on the next calendar go-around. I encourage you to "jump-in" and be a part of the most vibrant alumni group in Phoenix.
On the third Thursday in October, we gathered at our favorite authentic Irish pub: The Rula Bula. It was great to toast-off the spirit of Zinck’s Night while enjoying the arrival of cooler temps to the valley! We noshed our way around the patio, steins in-hand, name badges askew, all while enjoying complimentary appetizers provided by the Cornellian proprietor: Steve Goumas. Thank you Steve — you are a generous hotelie!
This event was followed-up with our annual convergence on the railroad park in Scottsdale. The occasion trends towards families and is set in the traditional barbeque theme. This year I felt adventurous and it was there under the Paradise Ramada that I sampled my first soy-based hotdog. I’m not sure if it would pair better with a Chardonnay or a Riesling. Any avid viewers of the FoodNetwork channel out there with pairing advice?
Our club’s networking platform expanded in a new direction. We landed as a group at Echoes of Asia (an Asian Art Museum) for an after-hours experience. The proprietor and his wife showcased unique pieces hand selected from various regions around the orient. The relaxed setting was conducive to sharing with each other what each of us does for a living. For some of us it was a matter of what career was retired from. This event also set the stage for the Chinese New Year in February and the Olympics coming up in Beijing, China in August of 2008.
Our group downshifted the monthly Happy Hours with a "less is more" approach. While we appreciate the gatherings offer a casual setting to reconnect, we needed them to be a little less frequent and little more distributed around the valley. So we opted to cheer together for our hockey team at Fox Sports Grill in Scottsdale and to break-in a new Floridian fish company on the East side. The happy hour occasion is an area where we could use volunteers to choose a favorite establishment and welcome fellow alumni. Our aim is to have a presence on The West side of town in 2008. There may be an Irish pub concept opening there soon. Stay tuned for more entertainment options (Westgate). The board welcomes volunteers to lead an outing out West.
Our annual Holiday party in December proved warm and relaxing in Paradise Valley. Chris and Debra Evans spruced-up their spacious Sonoran desert casa so we could feel the festive atmosphere. The mood was just right as we launched headlong into a jolly rendition of Far Above Cayuga’s Waters. Guest appearances were made by Peter Lee (in from The Cornell Western Regional Office) and Dr. Seth Kaufman (our local accomplished pianist). To assist the less fortunate, we brought some food along with us to benefit a local foodbank.
For those of you that also serve as CAAAN ambassadors out there: thank you. In case you missed it, during one of our hottest months in our summer season, Cornell University was voted The Hottest Ivy League School in Newsweek magazine. I have a copy of the article if anyone could use this with young people attempting to envision life beyond our state borders.
The Key to Cornell Connections
We now have a social portal online to help everyone remain aware of what is happening, where it is happening and when it is scheduled to happen. This is a resource we’ve never possessed before and we aim to harness the multimedia capabilities for your benefit. I believe the best experiences are live and in-person and this online venue can help get you there. As you leverage the power of the internet in your life, please bookmark www.cornellclubaz.org in your favorites places settings. Seth Kromholz exercised initiative and contacts to have a quality host site constructed for our social purposes. We will do our best to keep it fresh so you can keep coming back for more and more.
Looking Ahead with Optimism | Out of the Gate in ’08
We have a rapidly approaching social mixer to engage alumni from the other Ivy League schools. This is event is set for January 12th in Scottsdale.
A group of merlot colored vests will dot the Sanctuary golf course in January. John Reich loves to golf and he shares this interest by leading golfers out on the course time and time again.
There will be cultural and networking events at local art galleries in February. Beth Ames Swarz will be showcasing her talent at her favorite gallery.
We will partially fundraise with the Cornell Hotel Society on January 25th. This is all about the food and wine on the edge of The Borgata in Scottsdale.
We will launch into several fundraising dinners around the valley beginning in March.
March marks the beginning of baseball’s Spring Training Season. Let’s play ball! This game will enable us to establish ourselves with some West side alumni.
Our good people will be led again by Rodo Sofranac to build a habitat for humanity. This Cornell Cares event was rained out early December. What are the chances of that? We have early dibs on a new date. Watch for details on this meaningful effort.
Electronic dues-payment is a service that is nearing completion. Next year we intend to have dues and scholarship payments activated for web-based transactions.
Passing Batons on the Board: Honorable Mentions
I appreciate each and every one of you doing your part this last year. Paul Buck really put together some neat networking occasions. He also has developed a signature logo that may be incorporated into regional sportswear for our club members this year.
Mary Brierely Peterman shares valuable and timely insights she gained while leading the hotel group for years. She is a source of wisdom for me.
Leslie Tax Dos Santos is always balanced in her approach to requests for increased investments in projects that pay off. Projects like our website. Leslie and Donnelly do a terrific job orchestrating the CAAAN ambassador effort across the valley. Donnelly made comfy lodging possible at her Hyatt Place in Scottsdale for our visiting Professor. She also secured the Paradise Ramada at the railroad park in Scottsdale for my first soy-dog experience.
Chris and Debra Evans were gracious enough to open their nice home so we could have fun connecting before the full-force of the Holidays kicked-in. It is really great to be able to take time off and relax with friends.
Amy DeMarco and Ed Evans always step to the plate for the club with a reliable venue for visiting professors. Some of the keynote speakers swell the attendance beyond the seating capacity of our normal spaces. We appreciate these two columns of support nestled in that fancy building in Scottsdale.
Jean Robert Cauvin was kind enough to extend some complimentary lodging certificates for those that paid dues and won a random drawing early in the year. He is a class act atop The Windmill Inns. This is where my little family stays in Tucson.
Liam O’Mahony exhibits incredible Go Big Red! Spirit. He covers our sports beat with an attentive eye on the events that we can partake of as a group. Hockey was fun!
Chris Marchell put the focus on fun for the alumni so we could get a solid and dependable board for executing our plans and events. This is invaluable to the process of gathering in more members and growing our scholarship fund.
Seth Kromholz saw the vision for a more refined and capable website. He has made us rich with technological abilities!
Rodo Sofranac has an irrepressible spirit of optimism about how we can help the local community. Let’s get it built on the East side!
Art Tenner sits atop Desert Mountain in a noble house of stone. From here he surveys nearly all of Arizona in a single glance. He also crafts powerful electronic invitations to keep all of us aware of our club’s troop movements. Watch for a fundraising dinner in his cozy corner of the universe later this year.
Dr. Sally Goldberg exudes warmth all the time. She has holistic concepts on how we can continue caring in our community as Cornellians. Once we build that home for the habitat, she will show us a new direction to apply our skills and abilities locally. She has written a helpful guidebook for nascent and dumbfounded parents like myself.
Our member records might as well be housed in Fort Knox. Bill McGrath does an excellent job of silently maintaining the integrity of our database. He saved the club years ago and is always there when we need help with IT.
John Reich is always willing to lead a group over the next berm of the green on the golf course. Ask him to show you his authentic Cornell golf ball.
Thank you for being a part of our growing alumni club. It is not possible without you.
See you at an event soon,
David A. Calvino, President
School of Hotel Administration, Class of 1994