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.
Dori Albert ‘57 began her COE experiences at age 60, during the Gorgeous Gorges of Ithaca course. It was then that she fell in love with rappelling. Enjoying rock climbing and Outdoor Thrills and Skills with David Moriah gave her more challenges and instilled more confidence in her abilities. Rappelling off the stadium, winter cross-country skiing and high ropes courses all added to the exhilaration in many of life's activities. Dori went on to take another CAU course - the introduction to rowing - which led to a new love, and to her eventual coaching of rowing in a large high school Club team. Dori began her COE experiences a bit later in life, and is quick to say it's never too late to challenge oneself in new ways (but you don’t have to wait so long to start)!
David Bessey ’79 was one of the first Wilderness Reflections (now Outdoor Odyssey) coordinators "back in the day" and taught climbing and winter camping courses with many current board members. David graduated in 1979 from the Engineering School. A favorite memory is ice climbing Ithaca Falls with Mark Mendel. David and his wife Kitty are also one of the original WR couples, as she was Coordinator the year before he was. He has climbed and skied throughout New England, the West, and Alaska. David is currently an Emerging Market portfolio manager for Prudential Financial, and resides in Montclair NJ with Kitty and their three children.
Dr. Connie Campbell, Arts and Sciences ‘89, is a surgeon who entered Cornell as a alum of HIOBS and went on to be a WR tripper, guide and coordinator and COE instructor (canoeing, skiing). She married fellow Wind River Range expedition mate, Tony Diehl ’90, with whom she traveled to Nepal on a COE alum trip. They live in NH where Connie has developed bariatric, robotic and breast surgery programs and still can easily hike in the White Mountains, often staging trips from their northern NH yurt. They have 2 children, Alex (ILR ’19) who is an OB/NOLS alum and Odyssey tripper, guide and COE TA and Connor (?’24) who travels the world playing soccer and is an Adventure Trekker. Connie enjoys incorporating photography as part of her outdoor adventures.
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.
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