In basketball theres the Final Four - in the movies its the Magnificent Seven - David Letterman has his Top Ten - and then theres the 44 Twenty . . Perhaps youre thinking "twenty" is a mob scene? . . Well, just re-read that headline above. The Cornell Class of 44 has been around for over 62 years - since coming to Ithaca as Freshmen in the fall of 1940 - and yet theyve only chosen to honor 20 individuals in that six decade span. That makes it sort of an exclusive group then, doesnt it?
And who have they honored? . . 20 people who have been selected as Honorary Members of this great class . . Two University Presidents, several Alumni Affairs Directors (and that adds up for these administrators are the same people who work very closely with the classes and the alumni), several Athletic Directors, and a few selected individuals who have - in one way or another - also provided "unique support or notoriety to the Class of 44."
How have these individuals been honored? Well, the word I get as an outsider (who really is also an insider in being one of the Twenty) is that the ceremonial aspects of "the honor" have varied considerably over the years. Some honorees have been cited at a sit-down luncheon or a dinner (but never at a "formal" function) - others have been taken quietly over into a corner and "dinged" by a small group of grateful 44's - and still others, while they know of "their honor" by word of mouth, are still waiting for 44's Golden Slipper to be placed on their foot sometime somewhere.
This is not to imply slipshod administration on anyones part. Ive been with and watched 44's on numerous occasions and things do get done when the chemistry, topography, climate, and class treasury are in harmonious alignment.
Having been given this opportunity, Id just like to add these parting words that I feel certain the other 19 would utter if they were given the same opportunity. You 44's are and will always be a very warm-hearted, fun-loving group of people. Its been my pleasure to know a great many of you personally for over a decade. More importantly, Ive watched you wear your pride of University exceptionally well - and your University can justifiably be very proud of you.