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December 2006

Brian O'Reilly '05, 1983-2006

For those of us who knew Brian, I am certain that his smile will not fade from our memories.

O’Reilly, Brian F., age 23. Cherished son of Francis and Philomena. Beloved brother of Patrick (Claire) and Kevin. Devoted friend to countless. A St. Francis Prep ‘01 and Cornell ’05 graduate, Brian fought a courageous seven-year battle with osteosarcoma, succumbing on December 18, 2006. Brave and undaunted, he never complained and was always wonderfully optimistic. He would not allow cancer to keep him from living a full life, traveling to Australia, Hawaii, Europe, and Alaska despite the pain of his condition. He was a devoted fundraiser for the American Cancer Society’s “Relay For Life.” He loved comedy and Seinfeld, and attended filming of Saturday Night Live, Conan O’Brien, and The Daily Show in the last days of his life. Brian’s cheerfulness and sense of humor never wavered amidst his suffering. He will forever be an inspiration to those who knew and loved him. Calling hours at the Leo F. Kearns Funeral Home, Rego Park, Thursday and Friday, 2 to 4 and 7 to 9pm. Mass of Christian Burial St. Matthias Church, Ridgewood, Saturday 9:15am. Consistent with Brian’s wishes, in lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Sarcoma Foundation of America.

Matthew Nagowski | December 21, 2006 (#)

MetaEzra Holiday Contest!

With the holidays fast approaching, what better gift to give than something that proves your allegiance to your fair alma mater?

But better yet, why not personalize the gift? Through MyGarb, a clothing store that the Cornell Store has teamed up with, you can create your own, personalized apparel that can be tailored to every niche on Cornell's expansive and diverse campus.

Now, you can have every major, fraternity house, sport, or extracurricular activity on East Hill firmly imprinted next to Cornell's trademark name and logo. The Image Committee must love this, not only do we now have cool hats and hoodies, but we also now have "Unisex Hooded Blankets" to make all of the kids at the other Ivies drool in jealousy. Why? Because Cornell is the only school in the Ivy League to partner with MyGarb.

But let's have a little fun with this. The MetaEzra reader who creates the most unique, funny, or simply outlandish t-shirt, hoodie, or "ultimate blanket" on MyGarb and submits a picture of it to editor@metaezra.com by no later than December 22nd, will win a prize.

The permutations are seemingly endless. For instance, let's say you are a member of Cornell's Swine Club, a Vet-school outfit that pledges to promote "procine education amongst students", and suppose you still haven't gotten anything for your grandmother this holiday season. Well, what better gift for her than a baby-doll t-shirt that proudly proclaims that she is a proud grandmother of a member of the Swine Club at Cornell University? I bet her bingo partners won't even get the double entendre.

Matthew Nagowski | December 15, 2006 (#)

Contract College Tuition and Popularity

On Tuesday, the New York Times ran an article suggesting that a college can become more popular (ergo, more selective, ergo, ranked higher) simply by increasing tuition. Harvard economist Greg Mankiw offers some thoughts on the idea here.

The idea might hold some water for less prestigious private institutions that recruit students from the upper middle-class; every self-respecting members of the bourgeoisie wants to give their child the best education that money can buy. So maybe for Ursinus College yes, but I doubt that the same holds for a well-established and popular institution like Notre Dame, Swarthmore, or even Cornell. Once a college has a dedicated potential applicant pool, simply increasing tuition will not improve the popularity of a college, all other things equal.

Simple antecdotal evidence from data provided by Cornell's Institutional Research and Planning office proves this point. Over the last five years, in-state tuition to attend one of the three undergraduate contract colleges has increased rapidly relative to the tuition of the endowed colleges (notice the "kink" in the blue line around 2001 in the first graph) . But that hasn't improved the contract colleges' popularity at all (note the blue line in the second graph) -- indeed the only significant change in the number of applications Cornell has received over the last 20 years came two years ago when Cornell adopted the common application, and of those additional applicants who bothered to explicitly state which college they wanted to apply to, the vast majority of them applied to Cornell's endowed colleges.

Tuition aside, I think there is a lot Cornell can do to increase the visibility and attractiveness of its contract colleges, and if Cornell has any "image problem", it is the idea that these colleges are somehow substantially different from the rest of Cornell. That these colleges haven't increased the number of applications they have received over the last 20 years is a concern, especially given that these colleges offer programs in some of the most popular and growing areas of higher education -- business, applied economics, bio-engineering, statistics, and public policy.

Matthew Nagowski | December 14, 2006 (#)

Regularly Scheduled Programming

Apologies for the dearth of posting. Between a crazy work schedule and some technical difficulties, MetaEzra has unfortunately been neglected. But not to worry, more news and analysis is in the works, including an exciting holiday contest!

I'll also note that it's good to see that the Sun is still doing some reporting over the break. This means that we're not your only source for independent news and analysis when classes aren't in session.

After we noticed last week (in the sidebar) that Cornell Provost Biddy Martin was one of 30 finalists to fill Harvard's vacant presidency, The Sun has since reported on the development including a nice quote from Biddy herself. They also report from "sources close to The Sun" that "Martin is looking to take on a larger role elsewhere.

This should be of no surprise, of course. The position of provost has also long been a stepping-stone to fundraiser-in-chief becoming a university president. Cornell's last provost, Don Randel went on to become President of the University of Chicago, before assuming the presidency of the Mellon Foundation.

Matthew Nagowski | December 12, 2006 (#)

Other Recent Posts

-- WSJ: Cornell Wins NYC Tech Campus Bid (EBilmes)

-- Barrier Update: City Approves Nets (DJost)

-- Big Red Cymbal Guy (Nagowski)

-- New York Times Survey on Campus Recruiting is Flawed (KScott)

-- Barrier Update: Legal precedent suggests City of Ithaca will not be held liable for gorge suicide (DJost)

-- Despite MSG Loss, Big Potential for Big Red Hockey (EBilmes)

-- City Council Will Vote on Suicide Nets (DJost)

-- An Encounter on the Upper East Side (Nagowski)

-- Showing Off Your School Spirit (Nagowski)

-- Chipotle Ithaca? (KScott)

-- Cornell at the ING NYC Marathon (KScott)

-- Crossing Over a Fine Line: Commercial Activity on Campus (KScott)

-- Milstein's Downfall (Nagowski)

-- Can any Cornell-associated organization really be independent of the University? (Nagowski)

-- Slope Media Revisited (EBilmes)

-- Slope Media Group Approved for Byline Funding (KScott)

-- Occupy AEM? (KScott)

-- New campus pub to be good for both Greeks and non-Greeks (Nagowski)

-- Gagging the Election (Nagowski)

-- The Changing Structure of Rush Week (Nagowski)

-- Ivy League Humility in the Midwest (EBilmes)

-- Of Median Grades and Economics Minors (Nagowski)

-- Homecoming Recap (Nagowski)

-- My Cornell Bookshelf (Nagowski)

-- The Sun's Opinion Section Has Suddenly Gotten Good (Nagowski)

-- Remembering the 11th (Nagowski)

-- Cornellian Tapped as Top Economic Advisor (Nagowski)

-- Cutting Pledging, and the Good Which Comes With It (EBilmes)

-- Why Cornell Should Not Close Fall Creek Gorge (Nagowski)

-- Welcome to the Class of 2015 (Nagowski)