20 have been selected in some 60 years

     In basketball there’s the Final Four - in the movies it’s the Magnificent Seven - David Letterman has his Top Ten - and then there’s the 44 Twenty . . Perhaps you’re 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 they’ve only chosen to honor 20 individuals in that six decade span. That makes it sort of an exclusive group then, doesn’t 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 anyone’s part. I’ve 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, I’d 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. It’s been my pleasure to know a great many of you personally for over a decade. More importantly, I’ve watched you wear your pride of University exceptionally well - and your University can justifiably be very proud of you.

Robert R. Williams
, Lt. Gen. (USA-Ret.), U.S. Military Academy, ’40
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