Day Filled With Collaboration and Inspiration

By Charles McKenzie, January 28, 2019
Ithaca College and Cornell University host joint celebrations of diversity, equity and inclusion.

Last Thursday, Ithaca College partnered with Cornell University on a pair of events that exemplified the shared goals of the crosstown institutions.

At noon, Cornell hosted IC President Shirley M. Collado at its first Soup and Hope event of 2019. At the noontime series, the Sage Chapel audience is served a free soup lunch as well as some hope and inspiration, warming bodies and minds. Collado stressed the importance of diverse educators sharing their own stories in leading authentic lives on campus and in their communities.

“Remember the centrality of young people in our community and how you intersect in their lives,” she urged. “Not just the students at Ithaca College and Cornell University and TC3, but in our entire community. We must commit to setting an example, to modeling gratitude, grace and faith, to being bold enough and present enough to live and lead with authenticity and courage."

President Shirley M. Collado speaks at the Soup and Hope event

President Shirley M. Collado spoke Jan. 17 at the Soup and Hope event. "There’s a certain magic that happens in places like Ithaca when people are encouraged to express themselves fully in their neighborhoods and in their professions." (Photo by Charles McKenzie/Ithaca College)

Most often, that presence and grace pays off for both the educator as well as the student. Collado witnessed that firsthand last fall.

After her inauguration, she saw a group of female students of color looking nervous and emotional, and she had to smile and gesture broadly to wave them over. One began crying and asked the new president for a hug, one that spanned across two generations and multiple cultures.

“I realized that she was holding her phone, and there on FaceTime was her mother, her Dominican mother. And they are crying and speaking Spanish, and I’m saying ‘¡Hola, Mami! ¿Cómo estás?’”

The student then said through the tears and a wavering voice, “I had no idea our president could look like me.”

“I was overwhelmed with emotion,” she recalled. “That moment had a profound impact on me and really shaped the level of responsibility that I and my senior leadership team carry to model humanity and to let people know who we really are. Not just the bureaucrat. Not just the person with the fancy title.”

As part of that responsibility, Collado’s leadership team joined her on East Hill for the Soup and Hope event, donning aprons and personally serving soup to the 160 guests.

Read more about President Collado’s talk at the Soup and Hope event here.

IC Welcomes Cornell at Faculty Diversity Reception

Later that same day, IC played host at the Winter Faculty Diversity Reception, attended by more than 30 faculty members and administrators from both institutions. Cornell President Martha E. Pollack and CU provost Michael I. Kotlikoff joined Collado at the event, which was planned by the office of IC provost La Jerne Terry Cornish to mark the new year.

Honoring diversity its many forms on IC’s campus has been a central goal of the administration.

“That unwavering commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion extends to our amazing faculty: present and future,” said Cornish. “It set a great tone to start 2019 by bringing together both Cornell and IC and to recognize our respective and shared progress and initiatives on those fronts.”

Cornish, who joined Ithaca College as provost in 2018, wants to ensure that all students can see themselves reflected in IC’s students, faculty and president.

“During these times, we are sustained by the deep, lasting, and meaningful relationships we build, both with our college’s faculty as well as with our colleagues across the hill,” Cornish said. “And today’s joint celebrations are reflective of our future — just a glimpse of what IC and CU can and will accomplish together.”