Cornell Outdoor Education welcomes new members to its Advisory Board. Most members of the Advisory Board are Cornell alumni, however we welcome passionate educators and outdoor enthusiasts from a variety of backgrounds. The consistent factor is a strong belief in the efficacy of outdoor and experiential education.
The purpose of the COE Advisory Board is to support and to help guide one of the premier collegiate outdoor education programs in the country. The Advisory Board assists COE financially, strategically, and politically. It plays a critical role in allowing COE to annually serve over 10,000 participants and to be a place where any student can find a positive outdoor experience, connect to classmates and Cornell, and learn about leadership, teamwork, and personal growth.
The COE Advisory Board meets twice a year. Generally the Fall meeting is on campus and the Spring meeting is at a location where outdoor activities can be mixed with the more formal business meeting. The business portion of the meetings generally lasts half a day.
Realizing that Advisory Board members lead extremely busy lives, it is expected that members can make at least one meeting a year. In between meetings Advisory Board members are asked to help promote COE on campus to upper administration and throughout the alumni and/or business community. Advisory Board members are expected to contribute or to raise a minimum annual gift of $3500 (arrangements can be made for members, particularly younger ones, who might not have the financial wherewithal to make gifts at that level). Depending on expertise, individual Board members may also be occasionally asked to serve on task groups addressing such issues as risk management, strategic planning, marketing, IT, etc.
The rewards of serving on the COE Advisory Board are many. Foremost is the satisfaction of seeing the growth and success of COE in helping students learn about themselves, their fellow students, and their environment. Advisory Board members are invited to join COE on invitational adventure trips around the world. Past trips have gone to places such as Alaska, the Alps, Yosemite, Baja, New Zealand, and the Wind River Mountains.
At the annual Spring Advisory Board meeting, members and their families have the opportunity to practice or learn new outdoor skills including rock climbing, canoeing, kayaking, fly fishing, mountain biking, and hiking. Finally, Board members find that serving with a group of like-minded, sharp, and adventure-loving colleagues is fun and inspiring in and of itself.
ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS
Hirschel Abelson ’55 is a long time member of the COE Advisory Board. While at Cornell he studied in the Hotel School, earning a BS in 1955 and going on to earn an MBA in 1956. Herschel and his wife, a retired faculty member, are world travelers. They live in New York City where Herschel is a financial manager. Herschel has served Cornell in a variety of capacities including on Council and as a Trustee.
Ellen Tohn ’81 was a WR Coordinator, WR Guide and taught a number of different COE classes including winter camping and hiking. When not leading trips for COE Ellen studied in the College of Arts and Sciences, graduating in 1981. One of her favorite memories is leading an orientation trip in Maine that endured days of rain but ended up on the sunny peak of Mt. Katahdin. Ellen is the founder and principal of Tohn Environmental Strategies and a nationally recognized expert in housing based environmental health threats, healthy housing and indoor air quality, and lead poisoning prevention. She is an active skier and cyclist. Ellen, her husband John, and their three children live in Wayland, MA. Ellen currently serves as COE Advisory Board Co-chair.
Stephen D. Brinkmann ’86 became involved with COE after he and his daughter, Rhena, took a CAU-COE Parent-Teen Adventure class. Stephen graduated from the College Arts and Sciences in 1986. He is President/CEO of BrandTech Scientific, a Connecticut firm which imports lab equipment from Europe. Stephen enjoys sailing, hiking and travel.
Susan Kalus ’80 hails from Atlanta. She is currently on sabbatical as a lawyer specializing in real estate and tax law, serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Pitesti, Romania, where she just experienced her first real winter since living on the Hill! Susan graduated from the Arts College in 1980 where she was a Government major. In addition to serving on the COE Advisory Board, Susan serves on the University Council.
Jay Lemery, MD is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell. He has co-led a dozen joint Weill Cornell-COE programs in Ithaca, the Adirondacks, Arizona, and Utah. Dr. Lemery has practiced emergency medicine in Nepal, New Orleans (in response to Katrina), Haiti (in response to the recent earthquake), and in his backyard, the urban jungle of NY City. He is Secretary of the Wilderness Medical Society and when not in the ER or classroom he enjoys hiking and downhill skiing.
Judy Lowry ’56 is a long time COE Advisory Board member from the urban canyons of New York City. Judy studied in the College of Arts and Sciences, graduating in 1956. She and her husband, George, joined the Board for trips to the Winds and New Zealand. Judy and her sister ran a family book store, one of the leading sellers of book art, first editions and rare books in the City for years.
Clint Sidle ’74 is the director the Park Leadership Program at the Johnson Graduate School of Management (JGSM). Clint earned a bachelor’s and MBA at Cornell. He recently published his second book, This Hungry Spirit: Your Need for Basic Goodness. He has co-lead JGSM leadership trips with COE to the Sonoran Desert/Superstition Mountains and the Adirondacks and he regularly brings his Park Leadership fellows out to the Hoffman Challenge Course. Clint lives locally on the banks of Fall Creek in Forest Home.
We regret to announce the passing of our great friend and companion in adventure, Ed Berkowitz ’56. A longtime member of the COE Advisory Board, Ed was universally appreciated for his wise counsel, and universally loved for his irreverent wit. Over many years he was with us, Ed and his wife Lois (Class of ’59) joined us for adventures in Alaska, the Sierras, South Africa, Costa Rica, Thailand, and beyond. Ed studied Government at Cornell. He was a lawyer, residing in Washington, D.C, with Lois and prized cats. Ed did many ascents in the Whites, Sierras, and the Appalachians, as well as treks in the world’s major mountain ranges. Join us in the spring for a climb up Old Rag in memory of our great friend and patron.
Advisory Board Members