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President's Annual Message

A Message from the President

Educational Foundation off to Strong Start in 2019
As we reach the midway point of the Educational Foundation’s 12th year, I am pleased to report the growing progress and impact the Educational Foundation has had on leadership and educational programs within Sigma Pi and the greater Cornell and Ithaca communities. 2019 has continued to show progress with programs and educationally oriented infrastructure becoming an important and integrated part of undergraduate life at the chapter house. Undergraduate brothers are utilizing the Learning Commons daily, and the newest member class from this spring cannot imagine Mu Chapter without it. Events in the Learning Commons occur on a frequent basis, highlighted by the Educational Foundation coordinating two speakers this spring.
Mu Chapter brothers’ participation in College Mentors for Kids remains as strong as ever. We could not do any of this without the generous contributions of the alumni community, and we are forever grateful. The focus on education has helped to generate a culture of strong GPAs, and while results for spring 2019 have yet to be released, we are sure Mu Chapter’s GPA will continue to be among the highest of all fraternities at Cornell and Sigma Pi chapters nationwide.
Learning Commons Update
The Learning Commons has become a state-of-the-art location for collaborative study for brothers throughout the past year. In addition to the daily impact of flat-screen televisions for conducting group meetings and comfortable new furniture for an enhanced studying environment, the Learning Commons hosted a variety of events this past spring. We hosted Cornell Administrator Laura Santacrose, assistant director, Skorton Center for Health Initiatives, who ran an Intervene workshop focusing on successful bystander intervention, and Nick Ornitz ’16, who shared his journey from engineering at Cornell to consulting for McKinsey and is now pursuing an MBA at Harvard Business School.
Wi-Fi Modernization Update
In conjunction with construction of the Learning Commons, the Wi-Fi modernization project was completed last fall, allowing undergraduate brothers access to top-of-the-line high-speed internet. Going forward, undergraduate brothers will not only have faster Wi-Fi services but will no longer have to pay monthly internet charges. Thanks to generous donations from many alumni, including Alan Portnoi ’84, the Educational Foundation has paid off the costs of this Wi-Fi modernization effort. Alan says, “I am delighted to support the Wi-Fi modernization at the house and the Learning Commons project overall. It’s great to see brothers studying collaboratively and making the Learning Commons an important part of their daily lives at Cornell and Sigma Pi.”
College Mentors for Kids Update
The Foundation’s signature program, College Mentor for Kids, went through a period of transition last year, but Sigma Pi’s participation has completely rebounded. Our commitment to the program grew—we had 13 brothers participate in the spring. Mu Chapter returned to leadership positions with Alex Tucker ’21 serving as activities director and Jordan Jones ’22 serving as general manager. We look forward to continuing our large leadership presence in the program during the upcoming school year.
Board Member Changes
Pending a final board vote in July, the Foundation is excited to welcome Joe Zanetta ’75, Mike Reiner ’78, and Nick Ornitz ’16 as new members of the board of directors. They will bring a wealth of knowledge, wisdom and resources to the Foundation, and we are thrilled they are joining the organization. Because of transitions and departures, including the passing of beloved board member James Keene III ’57, we are looking to fill open board seats with individuals who can help take the Foundation to the next level. Please contact me or anyone else on the board if you are interested to learn more.
Thankful for Continued Support
We thank all of you who have supported the Foundation with generous donations during this year thus far. The 2018-19 fiscal year has been a success, as 51 alumni and friends of Mu Chapter contributed $26,312. We look forward to continuing to build the Foundation and its impact within the brotherhood as well as the Cornell and Ithaca communities.
Tom Silver ’81
[email protected] • (914) 582-1604