You are invited to read and share memories of Frank H.T. Rhodes.

The Cornell community remembers

Frank Rhodes was a brilliant scholar and a gracious leader who was not only deeply respected, but truly loved, by generations of Cornellians. His boundless curiosity, his kindness and humor, and his sage leadership shaped Cornell as we know it today, as his wise and generous mentorship shaped the lives of the countless students and faculty who passed through Cornell during his tenure. I am deeply grateful to have had the opportunity to benefit from his friendship and guidance in my early days at Cornell, and will always remember the warmth with which he welcomed my family into the extended family of Cornellians. I join Frank’s family and many friends in mourning this tremendous loss to the entire university community. — Martha E. Pollack, President
Frank Rhodes taught all of us, especially those of us who had the privilege to work with him, how to lead and how to inspire. He did that by his integrity, his grace, and his personal warmth. When you interacted with Frank, you felt as if you were the only person who mattered at the time. He loved and treasured Cornell, our faculty, staff, students and, especially, our alumni. He inspired Cornellians worldwide to share in that admiration and dedication. Our lives are richer because Frank Rhodes was part of them. — Susan H. Murphy '73, Ph.D '94, Vice President Emerita
People emphasize, with good reason, Frank Rhodes’ photographic memory. I would emphasize his graciousness, his depth and the sincerity of his connections with people, no matter who they were, and the degree to which that graciousness characterized everything that he did, professionally and personally. It was a graciousness that included time he spent chatting with my mom, when he encountered us at Sunday brunch at Banfi’s; that extended to carrying the luggage of Cornell’s Adult University participants and to day-to-day kindnesses that are too little in evidence in 2020. — Glenn Altschuler, Ph.D. ’76, dean of the School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions and the Thomas and Dorothy Litwin Professor of American Studies
Frank Rhodes had been at Cornell for four years, just like me, when he spoke at my Cornell graduation. He was always inspiring, and a marvelous orator, but what stood out for both me and my alumnus husband was that Frank Rhodes remembered our names. It could be years later, and he'd remember. Please accept our condolences. Tim and Beth McKinney — Beth McKinney
Thanks for all your great contributions for Cornell community. R.I.P! — Donghai Wu
Frank Rhodes was an unparalleled leader, colleague and friend to generations of Cornellians. Frank led Cornell for 18 years – nearly unheard of today at major research universities, transformed Cornell’s national and international role, and, even after stepping down as president, continued to be an influential voice in higher education. Perhaps most importantly, Frank cultivated permanent, lifelong bonds with multiple generations of Cornell faculty, staff and alumni. Eloquent, charming and an affable, peerless advocate for the university, he, along with his wife, Rosa, were frequent guests, attendees and cheerleaders at nearly every major Cornell event for decades. — ROBERT S. HARRISON '76, CHAIRMAN OF THE CORNELL UNIVERSITY BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Am so deeply sorry for the loss of the one and only Frank Rhodes. My fondest memory is at my last reunion (#20) where Frank so kindly "welcomed us home" He truly made it home to me as well as all of my classmates (SHA 1995). We will all deeply miss this beloved member of our Cornell family. My deepest condolences to the Rhodes family. — Sarah Spiewak Gulla
I'll always remember how immediately impressed I was with the unfailing graciousness, clever good humor, and deep intelligence overflowing in Frank Rhodes. I had the privilege of spending several hours in his presence at the wedding of his granddaughter at Cornell. Rest well. My deep condolences to your entire family. — Louise Silberling
I will never forget walking across the stage in 1984, at New York's Carnegie Hall, to receive my CUMC Ph.D. diploma. President Rhodes was waiting and he gave each of us a smile and a handshake that felt so real, so genuine - you could see he understood and felt what that moment meant to each of us. The culmination of years of work - and the beginning or wonderful possibilities. As my family in the balcony let out a cheer (they were supposed to be quiet until the end) he leaned in and said, "Susan, keep them cheering." A small thing - but it meant the world. We Cornellians have lost a gracious, generous man. My condolences to his family and friends. — Susan Fitzpatrick
Thank you Mr. Rhodes from a member of the Master of Engineering class of 1987. — Richard Previte
Deepest condolences to the Rhodes' family on behalf of the McDonald family. — Dr. Wilton McDonald II
President Rhodes spoke at my commencement from Cornell in 1986. Since then, my father (also a Cornell alumnus) and I have often shared a recollection of the metaphor he used in that address, of our Cornell education being like a Swiss army knife, providing many tools, which we never knew when or how we might use. How prophetic that metaphor has been for my life! — Rachael Cohen
May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand. — Nanette Cushman Guarda
I had the pleasure of having breakfast with President Rhodes on two occasions my freshman year as part of a weekly program he offered. As a young student, still learning my way around the university environment and the greater opportunities that presented, he offered unique and practical guidance. He didn’t present himself as a university president but rather as an experienced friend, offering personal advice and at the same time listening and learning of my experience as a new student and all the questions that brings. I don’t know if Cornell continues this program but it, and my interactions with President Rhodes rankle amongst my fondest and most cherished memories of my time at Cornell. Rest in peace President Rhodes. — eric s ‘88
I’m so sorry for your loss. I was in the Cornell business school in 1982. I was alone in a squash court practicing when who should show up but President Rhodes. I will never forget playing squash with that wonderful man. — Susan P McGowan
President Rhodes was ALWAYS polite and courteous to me whenever we met. Whether is was business, running into each other or a simple burglar alarm response. I will always hold President Rhodes in the highest regards. Officer Timothy Marsh Cornell University Police — Timothy A Marsh
My deepest condolences to the Rhodes family. President Rhodes made a lasting impression on my during my time at Cornell. He personified the best of Cornell-- — Meryl Fink
My first husband Steve Fillo served on the Board of Trustees during Frank's tenure. When I arrived at a Cornell event some time later, he met my second husband, Chris Coucill. From that point forward, he always remembered Chris and called him by name even though he had met only briefly. An extraordinary man and I shall treasure his and Rosa's friendship till the end of my days. I have a favorite picture of Frank, Chris and myself that is very special to me. I am deeply sad at his passing. — Liz and Chris Fillo and Coucill
Frank was visionary and inspirational. He led the university was passion and integrity, and you knew he had our best interests at heart. Frank was a genuine Cornell treasure and I personally will always be grateful for his presence. — Walter C. Johnsen
Dear Mrs. Rhodes and family, I am deeply saddened by President Rhodes’ passing. He was not only the president when my class graduated, but we made him an honorary member of the class of 1995 because of all he meant to us and the university. Personally, I will never forget how important he made me feel when I saw him on campus in 1993, and as a shy sophomore, I tried to contain my excitement. Maybe he saw it and came over to diffuse it, as if to remind me that he was human like I am. He exchanged many pleasantries, jokes and told me to never hesitate to reach out if I needed anything. Almost 30 years later, I remember it like it was yesterday. I will always remember his smile, wisdom and gracious manner to which I was treated many times as an alumna leader. Please accept my sympathy on your great loss. You will always be a part of our Cornell family. — PATRICIA GRANT
May the sun shine gently on your face. May the rain fall soft upon your fields. May the wind be at your back. May the road rise to meet you. May the Lord hold you in the hollow of his hand. Until we meet again. God speed and bless President Rhodes. — Robert Attardo
I have very fond memories of President Rhodes and have often quoted the speech that he gave to our graduating class in 1994. The message in the commencement speech was his advice to living a full and fruitful life which included these three important ingredients: ...Make sure that you always have... Something to work for... Something to hope for... and Someone to love... I have valued his wisdom then and have often reflected on that advice over the last 25 years. I hope that knowing that his impact and influence upon me as a young undergraduate were very impactful and that is has been meaningful to my life as I am sure he had a similar positive impact on the thousands of other students that he shepherded through their Cornell educational journeys... You have my sincere condolences for his passing! Sean M. O'Day '94 — Sean M. O'Day '94
I am so, so sorry to hear of Frank's passing. I was at Cornell from 1976-80 and he was our University President. We all thought the world of him and were proud to have a person of his stature as our president. He was also our Commencement speaker, and was remarkable. At one point my brother, a recent non-Cornell college grad, leaned over and said to me "There's no one at my college as smart as this guy." He was right. My sincere condolences to the Rhodes family. — Wayne Forman
Remembering his wonderful and gentle soul — Horacio Javier Buscaglia
I attended Cornell from 1985-1989. Frank Rhodes was an amazing presence during my entire time at Cornell. He just seemed to fit my image of what an Ivy League University President should be. I have nothing but positive memories of my time at Cornell and of him but what I particularly remember is that when I graduated and passed by him in the procession I felt like he genuinely cared about me in that moment. I have spoken with several other people who have said the same thing. It's an amazing accomplishment to intimately connect with tens of thousands of us during our special day. I have to believe that he was able to do that because the feeling truly came from his heart. He will be missed! — John Ungar
President Rhodes will always be "our" President - the Class of 1981, as he entered Cornell at the same time we did (Fall 1977). As he joked when reminded that we entered together, he would say, "Yes, but you graduated. I'm still here." He was always gracious and kind, willing to spend time with countless Cornellians - whether members of the Board of Trustees or new frosh. As Vice President Emerita Susan Murphy said, we are all better for having known him. Condolences to his wonderful partner, Rosa, to his daughters, to the entire Rhodes family, and to the entire Cornell family. — Fred Cohen '81
We'll remember the happy, stimulating time we had together at the Valencia Hotel in La Jolla, CA in 1979 FOREVER. You were the first sitting Cornell President to visit San Diego - and we know you stood far above. The Cornell Club of San Diego presented you with a conch shell and brass mounting bracket to commemorate the occasion. Which you cherished and kept on your desk at Cornell for years. May the wind be always at your back and the sun shining warmly on your face. Bud Suiter and the Cotnell Club of San Diego. — Bud Suiter
I remember President Rhodes well because he and I both came to Cornell at about the same time. I followed his efforts over the years as he worked tirelessly to continue to improve the University and will always appreciate his service. My heartfelt condolences to the Rhodes family. — Linda (Salee) Perrella, '80
Frank Rhodes was a leader and someone I looked up to from the moment I met him. He was warm, approachable and welcoming. He made all the students around him feel important and alway cared to listen. Thank you for being the best example of an excellent leader. You will be greatly missed by all you have touched. I feel honored I was lucky to know you. Rest In Peace. — Savy Grant 89
One morning during my sophomore year, I had the opportunity to join President Rhodes for breakfast. I already knew he was a visionary and a leader, but what I discovered was his profound interest in undergraduates. That day, I learned I had a voice and whenever I saw President Rhodes on campus, he greeted me by name. We are so lucky that his legacy lives on. — Lauren Silfen
I am so sad and hope that you will take comfort in knowing that so, so many others share your sense of loss. The initial and enduring image for me was of President Rhodes walking across the campus with the Dalai Lama. It epitomized everything I believed/believe in and wanted/want my University to stand for. Tears - and gratitude for having received the gift of having known the man. Barbara. — Barbara A White
Thank you for your work towards the establishment of the latino living center. This living center is one of the greatest experiences at Cornell for me. — David Velasquez ‘23, Social Media Coordinator at the Latino Living Center
My first year at Cornell in 2004 I worked in the main office of Snee Hall where President Rhodes had an office upstairs. I will never forget meeting him, it was like seeing your best friend after so many years. He was extremely friendly and that was always the case no matter where I saw him. I will never forget his kindness to me and so many others. He was a true gentleman and will be missed! — Nadine Porter
Frank H.T. Rhodes engaged Cornell people..alumni, students, faculty & friends. Frank & Rosa engaged with new classes and generations as each decade came & went. His presence, participation and patience were the images I most remember. May his memory comfort those he loved and be remembered by Cornell generations into the future. — Gloria J. Lang '69
President Rhodes was a beloved leader of our great University - he was respected by every part of the Cornell community. As a former football player we always enjoyed his locker room visits and passionate speeches, even though we knew he knew very little about American football! He’d always end his words with a fist pump and a hearty “Go Big Red!” It was simply his presence and sincere interest that we admired. We still talk about it 35 years later - he will be missed by every Cornellian! Mark Miller ‘84 — Mark Miller
When I was a sophomore, I was in a scavenger hunt for my sorority. Dr. Rhodes was on the list. No one wanted to stop at his house, but my team did. I bravely approached the house. He was out front working in the garden beds. He graciously chatted with me for a while. Such a gentleman. He will truly be missed. — Lynn Wilson
Dignified in demeanor and position. Articulate enough to shape a book about a future University that he helped bring year by year to Ithaca. Frank Rhodes embodied the best of Cornell during my many years of study with other greats like Mike Abrams. He even picked me up when i was on crutches struggling down Buffalo Street! Bruce Piasecki, author of — Bruce Piasecki
My wife, Christine, (Hand), and I want to extend our most sincere condolences. Mr, Rhodes was a wonderful man and Cornellian. He spoke at our commencement for the Cornell class of 1992. He will be missed. John and Christine Overton, Cornell Class of 1992, Agriculture and Life Sciences — John McEwan Overton Jr.
Frank was a very kind and humble person. I had the privilege of being Frank and Rosa’s house keeper for many years. He never had a harsh word for anyone or anything. His heart was just as big as his kindness towards others. I still think about Frank and Rosa from time to time and I have wonderful memories. God Bless you Frank. — Michelle Rolon
With my sincere condolences to the Rhodes family. Such beautiful comments. I don't recall ever meeting you Mr. Rhodes, most certainly, my loss. You are a Legend. May you rest in peace Frank H.T. Rhodes. — JoAnn Candelas
I vividly remember an interaction that I had with President Rhodes when I was a freshman in 1987. He struck up a conversation with me and a few of my friends at a "meet and greet" in Cascadilla Hall. During that chat (in which he had a remarkable way of putting students at ease), President Rhodes made the comment "Don't let classes get in the way of your education at Cornell." It took me years to fully comprehend the profundity of his guidance. I reflect on that advice often and have passed along his sage perspective to my children, nieces, and nephews as they embarked on their college careers. Please accept my heartfelt condolences for your loss. — Howard Markus '91
It happened over thirty years ago, but I still remember the pride I felt when I walked past President Rhodes on the Arts Quad during my sophomore year, and he greeted me by name. Apparently he had remembered me from a brief interview I had conducted with him on behalf of the Cornell Daily Sun a few weeks before. I was clearly one of a few hundred people he had interacted with that past few weeks, yet he treated me as unique individual. President Rhodes always struck me as the epitome of culture, grace and humanity, and someone who cherished his role as a leader. I aspire to be more like him. May He Rest in Peace! — Zoltan A. Vardy , Arts '92
Frank Rhodes was truly a gentleman and a scholar. We had the pleasure of traveling with him and Rosa on several CAU trips. His lectures were a highlight of each trip. His warmth and thoughtfulness were extended to all. His love of Cornell and her students was inspiring. We have the fondest of memories of this truly remarkable man and we will miss him greatly. — Sid and Sharon Mishkin
I will never forget organizing a gathering of South African alumni for a reception at the Sandton Sun when Pres. Rhodes led a geology CAU trip to the country in 1994. It was an exciting time for South Africa and a privilege to host a man who had made such great contributions to creating “the land grant university for the world.” Currently, we Board Chairman of Chesterton House, I have greatly appreciated Frank and Rosa’s support for our work on campus. Frederick Barber Arts ‘87 — Frederick Barber
I attended President Rhodes' inauguration and was inspired from that time on as a Cornellian. I recall him being, literally, everywhere on campus -- at the Straight, walking across the Arts Quad and at football and hockey games -- and always waving hello and talking to everybody he met. He was Cornell. — Seth Agata, ILR '79, Law '82
The Roth/Boyar Family was very sad to hear about Frank H.T. Rhodes. He was such a huge presence on campus when we went to Cornell in the 80's. And, when we returned for reunion in 2017, it was terrific to speak with him and reminisce a little. This year we lost Nancy Caplan Roth '47, who also passed at the age of 93. She too was a huge fan of President Rhodes. We send our condolences to Mrs. Rhodes and the whole Rhodes Family and wish them only the best. Warmly, Katherine Roth Boyar '86, Gabriel Boyar '87, Emily Roth '83, Allison Boyar '20, Susannah Boyar '22 — Gabriel Boyar
What a wonderful kind man. He was a true gentleman who was always gracious. I remember being invited, as a student, to one of his early morning breakfasts designed to have an opportunity to get to know him better and for him to get to know the ten of us around the table better. How very nice, then, to have run into him many years later on Madison Avenue and being greeted with "Hello, Lorraine. How are you today"? He will be missed. I send my sincere condolences to Rosa and his family. I will always remember President Rhodes warmly and with great affection. — Lorraine Aronowitz Danzig '82
Frank H.T. Rhodes was truly a great and warm leader. He personified the role of a major university president in every way. He took Cornell far, and made us proud of the school and of him. Just one of his many assets was his skill as an orator. It is the fashion today to invite celebrities and politicians as commencement speakers; however having him speak at the Class of '79 graduation was a real treat. As just one paraphrased sample, to break the ice he said: Cornell is standing in line, in the cold, on a hill [comedic pause] in the rain. The audience at Schoellkopf Field laughed uproariously and knowingly! Dave Neises '79 — Dave Neises
Professor Rhodes was an amazing inspiration, and a leader way ahead of the times. My husband Rob Hess and I were both in the Cornell class of 1991, and Prof. Rhodes was our commencement speaker. When I came back to campus in 2016 to give a lecture in Chemistry, I took a look back at Prof. Rhodes' words to our graduating class, 25 years prior, and was amazed and humbled by his words even more so as a professional and a leader. Prof. Rhodes conveyed to us that "“A look at your transcripts provides a partial answer. The specific skills and broad perspective recorded there will be useful in any career. But perhaps the most significant benefit of your Cornell years is not recorded by the registrar or documented by credit hours: It is the way Cornell has prepared you to live, work and, most of all, to serve in a diverse community, for the campus is a microcosm of the larger world.” He could not have been more correct, about Cornell and about the expectation that all organizations should set for themselves. As a member of PCCW, we strive to enable Prof. Rhodes' message across the Cornell community. Our son Tjaden is graduating from Cornell this May (class of 2020), and I only wish he had known Prof. Rhodes the way our class did. I am saddened by Prof. Rhodes passing, and send sympathies from the Hess-Leeds family to the entire extended Rhodes family. May he rest in peace. — Jennifer Leeds
My father, John DeWire, was a physics professor and for a time university ombudsman. When he died in 1990, President Rhodes came to my mother’s house to give his condolences. It was a kind gesture and his comments about my father were generous and expressed with his usual eloquence. In person, he seemed exactly the same as he did from the usual distance of the Cornell community (I’m an alumna). Cornell has been fortunate to have some outstanding Presidents and I put him at the top of that list. — Susan Hosek ‘66
I will always remember the time I was walking from Malott Hall to my residence in Cayuga Heights. I was near Risley Hall when a car pulled up and the driver asked where I was headed and would I like a ride. I never jump in a car with a stranger, but I noticed the driver was Dr. Rhodes. After some quick small talk, we spent the next 7 minutes talking about Cornell and the Johnson School. He wanted to know about why I chose Cornell, what the Johnson School is doing well and where can Johnson can improve, etc. The fact that a person of Dr Rhodes' stature was interested in hearing from a 1st year grad student is something that impresses me to this very day. He listened very carefully to my thoughts and thanked me at the end of the ride. I was stunned and thanked him for his kind gesture. It's not very often a student gets 7 minutes alone with a college President and what's more have the president solicit a student's ideas. He cared deeply about Cornell, what makes it great, why students select Cornell and where the school can improve. His grace, commitment to excellence, intellect, humor and love of learning has left a lasting impression on me some 43 years later. Every day I try to live up to his standard. Kent Peterson Johnson School Class of 1978 — Kent Peterson
In addition to all of the lofty praise and accomplishments already expressed, Frank was one of the kindest, finest human beings I have had the privilege of knowing. I remember one graduation ceremony in the 90's when he graduated a student dying of cancer "credits short" of what was required calling her out and announcing "She only lived to be graduated from Cornell and she is here with us today". I said to him some time later, "You graduated her credits short" and he said "Yes". I found him honest with opinions, not politically correct - always unfailingly a gentleman and a scholar. — Carol L. Bender, M.D.
President Rhodes was invited in 1990 as the graduation speaker for the graduate degrees at the University of Michigan. After his speech, and during the diploma parade, I reached out to him on the stage to let him know I am a Cornell graduate as I was picking up my diploma. I learned from Cornell friends that he mentioned that incident at the subsequent Cornell graduation ceremony. That struck me as a powerful threading of simple events turned into something larger. — Daniel Meléndez A&S'81 Eng'82
Dr. Rhodes was a singular figure in the life of the university, the nation, and the world. His memory for people's names and interests astounded me on the couple occasions I had to be at a small event with him, and he took the time to write a personal reply to me when I passed along greetings from another eminent geologist I met during an unrelated space physics conference. I carry his advice with me from the 1995 graduation ceremony in Schoellkopf, where he quoted the famous Cavafy "Ithaka" poem: "Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey. / Without her you wouldn't have set out. / She has nothing left to give you now." Thanks to you, Dr. Rhodes, for steering the ship on my marvelous journey during those great Cornell years. My deepest condolences to his entire family. We remember. — Phil Erickson BSEE '87, PhD '88
Dear Rhodes Family, Please accept my deepest condolences for the loss of President Rhodes. Put simply, he's one of my heroes. As a Cornell student from 1989 to 1993, he inspired me, comforted me, and modeled the kind of well-rounded, useful life I have tried to lead since leaving Ithaca upon the completion of his truly rousing commencement speech in 1993. I was lucky enough to get to know him and Rosa a bit personally as well while I was in Ithaca as I was a waiter and manager for an off-campus catering company (Creative Catering) that served at many events he attended, including several at his lovely Ithaca home. He and Rosa were always so gracious and warm with me and my staff, even in instances where it wasn't necessary and I've never forgotten that. Finally, I had the pleasant occasion to bump into President Rhodes a few years ago at the Cornell Club in Manhattan where I was hosting a business meeting. We chatted briefly in the elevator and even though he probably didn't remember me, he was a gentleman as always and gave me one final thrill for my memory bank. God speed President Rhoades and thank you for a life well-lived. Sincerely, JASON GERLACH Cornell Class of 1993 — Jason Gerlach ('93)
Always warm and engaging. My condolences to his family and friends. He will be missed.. — Sharon Miller
Fall of '77, as a new freshman eating lunch at Willard Straight by myself, a tall distinguished gentleman asked if he could join me. He asked what year I was, and after I answered, he said, "I'm a freshman, too!" We had a wonderful chat and I'll never forget that lunch with Frank Rhodes and how he took the time to welcome me to Cornell, so many years ago. Ed Fenzl, Ag Econ '81 — Ed Fenzl
In 1989, my soccer teammates and I had the opportunity to visit President Rhodes and Rosa at their home, in celebration of our Ivy League championship. Both were gracious hosts, engaging, warm, and interested in hearing about our victories, as well as the richness of our Cornell experiences off the playing fields. I was certainly intimidated by the occasion, but within minutes of the start, President Rhodes had put us all at ease. He was well ahead of his time in appreciating women in sport, not always the case on campus at that time. The invitation alone proved that, but his earnestness and excitement about our collective accomplishment was deeply felt. As I left their home that afternoon, I made a note to myself that I wanted another Ivy League championship just so I could have an audience with this remarkable, humble, hospitable leader. It made me even prouder to be a Cornellian. Thank you Frank Rhodes and God bless - we need more like you! — Jennifer Smith '90
Frank Rhodes was the quintessential Renaissance man, whose intellect, leadership, wit, grace, eloquence and humanity were beyond compare. He touched the lives of all of us who were privileged to know him. My deepest condolences to Rosa and the entire Rhodes family. — Diana M. Daniels
Our memories of Frank Rhodes are of a most gracious and inspirational leader, with a wide ranging interest and intellect, as well as a kind word for everyone. My condolences to Rosa, who during the several times we were fortunate to be together, would reminisce with my wife Sharon at the time about their very early days in Iron Mountain, Mich. Dick Vincent '59 — RICHARD F VINCENT
I fondly remember Frank Rhodes while I was a graduate student (PhD '84) in the Animal Science Department. I was President of the Graduate Student Association during my tenure at Cornell, and had the pleasure of going Dr. Frank and Rosa Rhodes' Cayuga Heights home for a holiday party. They were both so warm, charming and welcoming. This was just one of many memories that I cherish from my years at Cornell. As a legacy, may all those Dr. Rhodes was a role model for, influenced by, and peripherally knew (like me) contribute and work for the betterment of mankind. Rest in Peace. — David Wilson
I fondly remember the 1993 commencement address he shared with us which my family still talks about to this day -- "Only Connect"! His remarks reminded us to learn from and connect with others. "Do not live life as a donut - empty inside." Alyse Jedel Hersh Class of 1993 — Alyse Jedel Hersh
I was an undergrad at Cornell when Professor Rhodes started his tenure there. I loved all the pomp and grandeur of his inauguration, but my fondest memory was when he and his wife joined our little natural history club on a very cold and rainy day for a walk in the gorge. It seemed amazing to me that such an important man would take time to come along on that wee hike. And I found his knowledge of paleobotany even more amazing...he'd look at this fossil or that and tell us all the names from memory! We all struggled to learn the names of living plants and animals, but he had so much more knowledge, that of flora and fauna through history! This happened sometime in the late 70's, but I'll always treasure that memory. May he rest in peace, and may his family come to truly understand how very many people he touched with his intelligence, kindness, and humility. -Shari Goldfarb, class of 1980 — Shari Goldfarb
I arrived at Cornell at nominally the same time as President Rhodes (1977) to begin my doctorate. In the course of my six years on campus, and being associated with Geological Sciences, I had a number of opportunities to meet and speak with Frank. Three special memories: being on stage with the Glee Club at the inauguration in Nov. 1977; carrying in the pocket of my doctoral robe a copy of Frank's Golden Guide to Geology, which he signed for me during the 1984 commencement procession on the Arts Quad (still a treasured possession!); being photographed with Frank at commencement with my wife Martha (we completed our Ph.D.s within days of one another)--Frank made a big deal about it, which was wonderfully kind. Not mentioned in the obituary is how great and generous an orator Frank was! Class after class of graduates looked forward to Frank's speech at commencement: it was always THE highlight of the day. We all were enriched by Frank's presence and efforts. My condolences to the family for your loss. My thanks to the family for sharing Frank with us all! — Reid Cooper, Ph.D., 1983
My deepest condolences to Dr. Rhodes's family. I was lucky enough to work for Dr. Rhodes and his long-time assistant, Joy, from 2000-2002, during my junior and senior years at Cornell. I've thought about him quite a lot over the years. What I remember most about him is his kindness. He was a great family man with a powerful intellect, and he will be sorely missed. — Helen Sullivan-Looney
President Rhodes spoke as I graduated in '81, as he (not I) did perennially. Is remembered well by me and by my family who were present as a gentleman and a scholar, with obvious affection for Cornell University. Years later, I ran into him in the dining room of the Cornell Club in New York City and had a warm conversation with him about then-current happenings high above Cayuga's waters. He was a great president of Cornell and an extraordinary ambassador for Cornell who will be missed. — Patrick Daugherty CLS '81
I worked with Dr. Rhodes in the summer of 2011. I was responsible for helping to transcribe his hand-written notes for "Earth: A Tenant's Manual" and Dr. Rhodes was kind enough to mention my name in his acknowledgments of his text. That summer we had an earthquake, and I was working on transcribing when it happened. We were working in the Earth Science building, and everyone scrambled downstairs to see what the Richter Scale had registered. Dr. Rhodes was the one that went and directly read it, talking about what it had measured. We had such reverence for him and looked on eagerly to hear what he had to say about that event. Dr. Rhodes was one of the nicest humans I've worked for thus far in my professional life. I remember receiving quite possibly hundreds of his hand-written version of the text, and often needing to go to him so he could decipher some of what he had written. He was so kind each and every time I went to him. I actually liked going to him because he had such a kind spirit. He carried himself with such grace and poise, and I often had wished I had gotten to know him before that summer. Dr. Rhodes, thank you for showing kindness and grace to me that summer. You were the epitome of what a quiet, powerful leader was, and many would do well to follow your example. Rest in power, and thank you for your contribution to this world. Love, Amara — Amara Pinnock
President Rhodes' graduation speeches were the absolute highlight of a Cornell career. They ranged from witty to insightful to informative to deeply moving. He was one of the most compelling and powerful voices for education and thought that I have ever witnessed. My condolences to the Rhodes family and the Cornell family. — Todd Felton
Frank Rhodes embodied graciousness, brilliance, and humility, an authentic personal approach, an ability to see people as unique individuals, honest curiosity, and pure presence when he was with people. He set the tone and deeply influenced my aspirations regarding leadership for my career. My first decade after graduate school was spent working at Cornell. So many times over the last decades I would think, "What would President Rhodes do?" — Jim Mueller
I remember President Rhodes especially during the student protest against apartheid in South Africa and the movement to divest Cornell's from any financial ties to that nation. He was empathic and sincere when listening and addressing the student's concerns. Isn't that what you want in a University President someone with compassion. He also had a great handshake. — Vanita M. Taylor Class 1980
I was pleased to secure a coveted spot at one of the breakfasts that President Rhodes hosted for students during his tenure. We were asked to introduce ourselves, mentioning our year, major and any activities we were involved with on campus. As we introduced ourselves President Rhodes interacted with each student by asking a probing question or making an interesting comment that, I think as a group, we collectively recognized as remarkable in its erudition, personal warmth and comprehensive knowledge of every aspect of Cornell life. I was not only impressed with him personally, but also left with a belief that our University was led by people who truly cared about the students and our life on the hill. May his memory be a blessing to those who knew him. — Rachael Perkins Arenstein '92
Though I graduated before Frank Rhodes was inaugurated as its President, in my encounters with him as an alum, I found him to be a charming Renaissance Man and a synechdoche for Cornell itself, erudite in any subject with anyone with whom he came in contact. He will truly be missed and remembered as a synechdoche for Cornell, may it always live up to and carry on what he represented. — Elliott Meisel
My condolences on your loss. The memory of President Frank Rhodes and my early 80’s time at Cornell go hand in hand. He was always a pleasant and friendly face which solidified my connection to Cornell and the Cornell Campus. — Timothy Harrod
I absolutely adored President Rhodes. I’ll always remember going to his home during freshman orientation week where he and his lovely wife welcomed me. I was a scared 17 year old from Maine and I found some solace in meeting them. I am so sorry for his family - he touched so many lives and inspired thousands of students. — Julie Weston James
May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand. RIP President Emeritus Rhodes. — Margaret Gallo ‘81
As both an alum and a former professor, most of my 23 years at Cornell were with Frank Rhodes as President. He was gracious, beautifully articulate, gentlemanly, spirited, humorous, and inspiring. Every year I looked forward to his commencement speeches, which I heard he worked on for a whole year. One year during the time of protests on campus against apartheid, he quoted a student who wrote to him saying "We still love you," and so his speech was all about love. That's a theme I borrowed in some of my own speeches after that. One of my students one year was chosen as a Merrill Presidential Scholar, and to my surprise when I arrived at the luncheon in Willard Straight, I was told to sit at the head table. My student, her high school teacher, and I sat next to President Rhodes, who had really hit it off with the teacher, a lover of geology and an extremely warm person. The two of them just couldn't stop talking to each other. During lunch he asked my student a question, and then he quoted her when he gave his speech. That day was truly one of the most memorable days of my time at Cornell. To his family, please accept my condolences and know that we appreciated him to the nth degree. — Ron Pitt
Frank Rhodes held a special place in his heart for our class, always referring to it as "The Super Class of 1956." He was fond of our late class leaders Curt Reis, Ernie Stern and others, and especially proud of our class having the original idea for Cornell Alumni University and particularly for our annual alumni fund raising achievements starting with our then record 25th reunion year total number. Frank Rhodes was beyond compare as a speaker and was an always warm, gregarious person to all who had the pleasure of knowing. and spending any time in his presence. He will be very sorely missed by all and especially by our class. — Dan Silverberg '56
My condolences for the loss to his family and the Cornell community. I was fortunate to spend time with Frank Rhodes during University events and athletic team winning celebrations. Always curious, always happy, always grandiose, always generous with his time. I cherish the gift he gave our class with his commencement speech on the three things you should always have in life: something to do, someone to love and something to hope for. Best advice from a great leader. — Pablo Pulido '94
As a Cornellian Class of '86, Frank Rhodes will always be my President. I know many wonderful memories will be shared on this page, for me, it was President Rhodes' Commencement speeches. His eloquent delivery, his inspirational words, I would pay admission just to hear him speak. Working at Cornell post graduation, I was fortunate to witness all of his Commencement speeches. And he saved his best for last. In his final Commencement speech, he weaved the theme of a Journey to Ithaka. He recited the verses from the Greek poet Cavafy. I want to thank you President Rhodes for inspiring me on my own Journey to Ithaka. God bless you. Rest in peace. — Rick Kuhar '86
One of my most cherished possessions is the shirt from our 5th Reunion with a reprint of his commencement speech to the Class of ‘94. I was just speaking to my high school sophomore daughter about his challenge to find “something to do, someone to love, and something to hope for.” These words have been one of my guiding principles these past 25+ years. I met my future husband the first day of Pre-Term so the “someone to love” was already checked off, and President Rhodes gave me a compass for the other two. I feel lucky to have been touched by his words. — Jennifer Rabin Marchant ‘94
Frank Rhodes’ death is a painful loss to many communities around the world. My husband Murray, (who shared a 1926 birthyear, and died 6 months ago) and I traveled with Frank and Rosa on a number of Cornell Adult University trips. Frank was a magnificent travel companion and educator on those adventures. On one of our trips, because of a torn ticket, a stern cordon of large women refused to allow me to board the airplane chartered by the Cornell group to leave Moscow. Frank quietly, but firmly, refused to board without me. With little further fuss my passage was approved. Just another small demonstration of his kindness and concern for others. I send my deepest condolences to Rosa on the loss of her longtime companion. — Beverly Cohen
He was such a gracious and towering (literally) figure on campus. I am proud to have his signature on both of my Cornell diplomas and to have been an original occupant of Rhodes Hall in 1990 while I worked for the Cornell Theory Center. I remember using his graduation blessing to us as part of a toast to my nephew years later. May the sun shine gently on your face. May the rain fall soft upon your fields. May the wind be at your back. May the road rise to meet you. May the Lord hold you in the hollow of his hand. May his memory be a blessing to his family and all Cornellians. — Jack Zinn
I will never forget meeting Frank Rhodes the first week of freshman year in 1992 when he and his wife invited busloads of "pikers" with open arms to their home for a welcome reception. Mr. and Mrs. Rhodes not only made a point to introduce themselves to everyone, they had genuine conversations. With one simple gesture, he and his wife took the "institution" out of a large university and made me feel like extended family. I feel blessed to have met him and am thankful for all he did for the university. My deepest condolences to the Rhodes family. — David Caleca '96
President Rhodes first 4 years were my 4 years at Cornell. What a wonderful man and leader. I fondly remember attending receptions at his house for student leaders and how he knew each person's name and story. He made a point of that, and it was clear there was no distance between student and leader that he could not bridge. We were privileged to have him lead Cornell. I suspect he felt privileged to lead us. Rest in peace. Susan '81 — Susan Joseph
My deepest sympathies for the entire Rhodes family. Present Rhodes was an amazing human being. Anytime I had the opportunity to speak to him on campus, whether it be as a student or alum, he always made you feel “at home.” One of the most engaging, warm and attentive people I have ever met in my life. My God bless his soul and grant him Eternal peace. — Karen Maroli
President Pollack is so correct in saying that Pres. "Frank Rhodes was a brilliant scholar and a gracious leader who was not only deeply respected, but truly loved, by generations of Cornellians." His 'secret sauce' was that even as he lifted you higher with his eloquent oration, he never lost his human touch that made everyone feel like a friend, including students. Reading the entries in this log of condolences re-inforces how many of us, even as young students, were touched by him. I was at Cornell for both my degrees in the '70s and found inspiration in Pres. Rhodes' many soaring and insightful talks. So much so, that I emulated his style and, in a couple of cases, "borrowed" his stories, with respectful attribution. From him, I learned so much----we all did. He will be sorely missed. Sincere condolences to his loving family, including his Cornell family of which I count myself as one. — Shelly Porges
Professor Rhodes and I began our Cornell careers together that Fall of 1977. I'll never forget the speech he gave as the academic year began. He referenced an article he had read that listed the greatest institutions of higher learning, which concluded with the phrase "and perhaps Cornell." Perhaps Cornell, perhaps Cornell, he intoned. He then extolled the virtues and accomplishments of our beloved Cornell citing it as one of the finest of all institutions-concluding that perhaps those other institutions were in that list. I would remind him of that speech whenever our paths crossed. We were so blessed to have him as our humble leader. — Anthony A. Boyadjis ARTS 81, LAW 84
My heartfelt condolences to Professor Rhodes' family. I will never forget seeing him standing and applauding me as I walked through campus towards my undergraduate graduation ceremony in May 1990. That simple gesture of his pride in me, a student he had never met, has stayed with me always. He was a singular man. Rest in peace. — Jennifer Hasenyager Crimmins '90
To the Rhodes Family, Cornell Alumni, Faculty and Staff: Please accept my sincerest condolences on the passing of one the greatest legends in Cornell University's rich and distinguished history. While I am saddened by the passing of such a wonderful leader and example of a what makes a True Cornellian, I think it would be more appropriate in President Rhodes's honor, to reflect on the impact he had on my family and my own experience as an undergraduate from 1991-1995 and as a proud alum that is about to mark his 25th reunion. When I first began my Cornell journey as a nervous Freshman, I recall vividly those four years I spent studying on the Hill, as key turning point in my own life that I will always cherish as a life gift - which is a Cornell education. President Rhodes as I vividly remember attending my sister and now brother-in-law's 1993 Commencement, the 1994 Commencement and my own graduation day May 28, 1995 when he mentioned that getting an education at Cornell is not about just studying, nor achieving the highest grade point average. It is about connecting with people - fellow students, alumni, faculty, staff and friends of such an amazing university whose impact has been made globally for over a century. He went further giving my fellow Class of 1995 graduates a simple, but poignant mission when we leave Cornell as graduates in three points. First, find something to do that is purposeful. Second, find someone to love and third, connect with others from this day forward for the rest of your life. Being the humorous man he was, President Rhodes challenged us not to reflect on "walking up the Hill in a blizzard only to bomb a prelim, but what we learned from our entire experience being a Cornellian." For me personally, I remember keeping my Commencement Ceremony program, and my ILR Graduation Ceremony program (which was held in my favorite building on campus - LYNAH RINK!), and held that hard earned diploma like I had a winning lottery ticket. Looking back 25 years later, it wasn't the countless hours I spent getting through a rigorous academic program, the long Ithaca winters, or whatever obstacles that were thrown at me during that time, but it was the people I befriended, the people who taught me, the staff that supported and encouraged me and the family members who also call themselves Cornell alums to finish strong, and my amazing parents, brother, sister and maternal grandfather who were there at the finish line when I became a Cornell graduate. President Rhodes inspired me to pursue a purposeful career which I found in Talent Acquisition. Ironically, the same organization that heavily recruited me (Harris, now L3Harris Technologies) during my senior year, just pulled off a convincing reason for me to relocate my family from New England to Florida to continue this great run. I have helped thousands of people pursue better career opportunities and work with some incredibly talented teams to make recruiting an art and a science during this past quarter century. Finding someone to love - while this may seem simple, President Rhodes, that person is you. I had the opportunity to thank you in person in my beloved family summer home in Aurora, New York at the Aurora Inn, when I immediately recognized you and Rosa having dinner. I bee-lined to let you know that I was the last graduating class of your distinguished and historically significant presidency and to thank you for making such a tremendous impact on my life, members of my family's life and countless others. I will go far as to say, you are the greatest president in Cornell history - hands down, bar none. I hope you, your family and the Cornell community carry on your rich legacy in the times that lie ahead. Great leaders like you do more than just teach, they make a lasting impact like you did with me. Thank you for your leadership, your inspiration, your knowledge, your wisdom, your amazing sense of humor and for taking Cornell to the next level. You were a legend, rest in peace and may the Lord welcome you home and embrace you while recognizing a job well done, a life incredibly well lived. You will be missed President Rhodes! — Patrick J. Reuss '95
I can’t say that I had a personal friendship with Frank Rhodes, but I will never forget his first address to my class in 1977. In his sonorous voice, he said that we were freshmen together, that we were all starting this amazing Cornell journey at the same time. He added that we would write to our parents ask for money! We shared a laugh, but it was a wonderful way to help us bond to Cornell and to him as our president. At commencement four years later, he reminded us again that we were his first class and that we had been through this together. Farewell to an outstanding scholar, a warm-hearted man and fantastic role model. My deepest sympathies to his family. Lora Miller, BA ‘81, DVM ‘85 — Lora Miller
While walking in the procession of graduates back in May of 1981, as I came upon President Rhodes, I waved at him. He waved back. I'll never forget that. Though he had a nice long life, loss is still hard on those who loved him. I hope your happier memories will far outweigh your sadder ones. You have my condolences. Sincerely, Laura Anne Walker — Laura Anne Walker, MSEd
I am sad to learn of Frank Rhodes’ death. I cannot imagine a Cornell without him. I was fortunate enough to go to several dinners at his and Rosa’s house while attending Cornell (‘87). He and Rosa demonstrated what true partnership is. They complemented each other so well. He had the gift of listening to anyone. He and Rosa were the definition of grace. My mother, Helen Kramer (‘57), had a close relationship with Frank and Rosa as well. She learned so much from them as an alumni. When she died suddenly, it was Frank’s appearance at her funeral which calmed your siblings and I. For that, I will always be grateful. It is unfortunate that future generations of Kramers will not get to meet him. I did squeeze in an introduction to my daughter at my 25th reunion fortunately! Godspeed Frank Rhodes. You are in our hearts. — Marjorie Kramer
President Rhodes was one of the very few great men whose paths crossed with mine in my this far 72 years of life. He will be missed, but always remembered by those who knew and loved him. My sincere condolences to you. You were blessed to have him in your family for such an ample time. — Stephen Goldberger
President Rhodes delivered the commencement address at my graduation in 1994. Never forgot him. He relayed a centuries-old prescription for happiness: 'The keys to happiness are: something to do, someone to love, and something to hope for.' And also quoted an Irish poem, endearing him to me. I extend my sincerest condolences to his many friends, family, and colleagues. — Jerry Cooney
As a freshman in 1980, I fell for the joke issue of the Cornell Daily Sun, which said that Thanksgiving break had to be canceled. I found President Rhodes’ home number in the phone book and called him at 7 a.m. in a panic. He gently reassured me that the break would occur as scheduled. It’s that warmth I will remember. — Bill Mikulak
As a junior at Cornell in 1983, I underwent a knee operation that left me on crutches and hobbling from Cayuga Heights Road and up to Thurston Ave. towards the suspension bridge. On an icy November morning, President Rhodes, who would often drive by on his way to work, stopped and offered me a ride to the Hotel School. He was friendly and genuinely interested in what was going on with me - those 10 minutes in the car with him left an indelible memory of his kindness, sense of humor and care for his students. — Michel Andre Buhler
I felt fortunate to earn a doctoral degree in 1995 when Professor Rhodes was the commencement speaker. After hearing the sad news today, I re-read his speech, "Ithaka," and was reminded why I felt so fortunate. — Henry A. Carlson
Words are lacking to express the influence Frank had on my family's life. We often were travel mates and of course the two trips wet took with Frank to Antarctica will never be forgotten. My family will always be grateful that he and Rosa made the trip from Ithaca to Torino to attend Helen's funeral. My sincerest condolences to Rosa and family. Ron Kramer — Ron Kramer
What a sad passing of a well lived life. Frank Rhodes embodied the stature of our Cornell and he was definitely my President! I was so honored to meet Dr. Rhodes at an event for his book at the Cornell Club in NYC. I felt like I was meeting a gracious charming giant of a man. My sincere condolences to his family, friend’s and all of us who were touched by his leadership and inspiration. Class of 1980 — Stephanie Goldpin , MD
I feel so blessed to have attended Cornell during part of President Rhodes' tenure (1990-1994). As an undergraduate at such a large university you could feel small or lost, but President Rhodes' warmth, kindness, leadership, and simply his presence protected us from that. We were always so excited to see President Rhodes on campus. He was a celebrity to all, and loved by all. He will never be forgotten. Thank you for your unparalleled commitment to Cornell University, President Rhodes! Rest in peace. — Jennifer Lee, MD
I first ran into President Rhodes in Summer 2009 while walking along the Libe side of Uris Library. A group of us were soaking in the summer sun when we chanced upon the two of them, President Rhodes and his wonderful wife Rosa. In that moment of informality, he almost naturally embodied a wizened grandfather: warm and welcoming but yet unmistakably formidable. I knew he had been the president of the university, but nothing about his remarkable impact across the landscape of higher education. In 2010, he gave the inaugural commencement address at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, where I was a first-year student. There, I understood. He spoke with the gravitas and eloquence of an elder statesman and captivated the assembly, graduates, families, faculty and staff alike. He quipped that the only thing between graduates and Commencement was the Commencement speaker, and promised to keep his comments brief. :) Today, I suppose we all wish for just a minute more. — Abhinav Mansingka
Frank Rhodes was an incredible leader, but to me and to the Cornell Community in Puerto Rico, he was a strong advocate and a dear friend. We will forever be grateful to President Rhodes for all he did for our alumni and our island. ¡Descansa en paz Frank! — Enrique J. Vila-Biaggi, '94, '95 Member of the Cornell Board of Trustees
President Rhodes left a huge impression on both my husband and I (both class of 1988). He was a grand figurehead as well as an approachable and friendly human being. Both of us had many interactions with him and his wife Rosa during our time there, as well as years after. He inspired confidence and his leadership was peerless. He remains such a positive memory of our time at Cornell. He touched so many lives in a positive way. His parting words at graduation were ones that always remain in our hearts. Rest In Peace. — Lisa Zelson
“May the roads rise to meet you.....” were the most thrilling words spoken at any of the graduation ceremonies I attended during many years at Cornell. In addition to those memorable words at graduations, President Frank Rhodes words have welcomed visitors to our house for many years as they stand framed inside the entrance to our house. Though he has passed on, he lives on in our minds and hearts. Susana and I send our condolences and “may God hold you in the hollow of His hand.” — Royal Colle
I only had the privilege of meeting President Rhodes once, but it remains one of my fondest Cornell memories. In 1994 I taught summer session in the History Department. One sunny morning I was walking from Collegetown to McGraw Hall, and as I passed Annabelle Taylor Hall, suddenly there was President Rhodes walking towards me. I said, "Good morning, Mr. President." He had absolutely no idea who I was, but he immediately extended his hand. We shook hands and I introduced myself. He asked if I was a Cornell grad. I said I was and told him I had done both my undergraduate honors thesis and my doctoral dissertation under the supervision of Walter LaFeber. He beamed and said, "You couldn't possibly have done better." I of course agreed. We chatted a while longer and then each went on our way. I never got to see him again in person, but his graciousness and warmth have remained with me ever since. — David Green, B.A. 1962, Ph.D. 1967
His influence on me was from afar but nonetheless powerful. Seeing him filled me with pride. Hearing him filled me with confidence about my choice of attending Cornell and refreshed my gratitude for the privilege of attending a University he was leading. My condolences to your family. BS ‘81 — Adam Petriella
In 1980 I was a freshman in Donlon Hall and a member of our dorm activities committee. I had the honor of escorting President Rhodes in his visit to our dorm that fall. I saw him face to face maybe only once more during my four years at Cornell. A dozen or so years later, with a fresh PhD diploma in hand, I joined the scientific staff at the Arecibo Observatory. President Rhodes attended our annual visiting committee meeting at the Dorado Beach Hotel and Resort. He saw me and greeted me warmly by name. I was shocked that he remembered me, but also humbled and honored. We crossed paths several more times, always with a warm embrace and small talk. He was generally interested in everyone and everything. A truly remarkable human being, and someone I will always remember with the deepest respect and admiration. — Jonathan Friedman
Rosa and family -- It is so, so sad for Molly and me to part with Frank. From our very first moments at Cornell in the mid 1990s, Frank was always such a high-quality person and friend (Rosa, you always were as well, of course!). Frank was ALWAYS incredibly friendly and supportive of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. He understood and believed in what we were trying to do, and trying to become. Rosa, you and Frank supported us as we gained global scale, recognition, and impact -- we thank you both for your faith in our mission. But most important, Frank Rhodes was a dear, dear friend; a kind and caring man; a walking example of the quintessentially informed, forward looking, and optimistic character that we all aspire to be. He was a humble giant of a leader, and we will all be better for having known him. I am so sorry that he is gone, but he will be a part of our lives forever. John and Molly Fitzpatrick — John Fitzpatrick
I was fortunate to meet Frank Rhodes in the summer of 2012 when I was considering a new position at Cornell - the Wold Family Professor in Environmental Balance for Human Sustainability. His thoughtful consideration and concern for the future were key factors in my decision to accept. Our paths crossed occasionally in Snee Hall where he always had critical questions and suggestions, but a highlight for me was to play a small part in his ninetieth celebration honoring his remarkable impact. He was inspirational and had a significant influence on my career. — John Thompson
I had the great pleasure of having dinner with Frank Rhodes, ca. 1990. He had come to New York to give a big public lecture on Darwin, at the American Museum of Natural History, where I am a Curator. Of all the scientific lectures I've attended in 40 years, his is imprinted in my mind as the only one that was truly flawless. Dinner afterward just reinforced to me what the erudite scholar, poised gentleman, gifted administrator, and gracious person that Dr. Rhodes was. I take immense pleasure at seeing on my diploma (Cornell, Ph.D. 1986) the signature of Frank H.T. Rhodes -- he embodies to me everything that makes Cornell a place of unique distinction. — David A. Grimaldi
My sincere condolences. I attended Cornell from 1978 to 1981 and I have very happy memories of President Rhodes. Even though Cornell is a huge institution, somehow I felt very connected to President Rhodes. I think all of the students did, although it is hard to imagine how president Rhodes accomplished this. . President Rhodes spoke at our graduation in 1981 and I can still remember how much we all loved his speech and how much it meant to us to have him deliver our commencement address. We did not want any celebrity or other famous person— we wanted our President! He was a great speaker and a wonderful man. I am very sorry for your loss! — Stacy Leopold
Family and friends of Frank Rhodes, I am sorry for your loss. As the son of a Cornell professor growing up in Ithaca and born in 1975, I was comforted by the idea of this important man Frank Rhodes running the university that shaped my town and employed my father. Frank Rhodes did much to make my dad's experience and later my own as an undergraduate starting in fall 1994 what it was. He will be remembered. Neal Berkey '99 — Neal Berkey
My condolences to you and your family. My first memory of President Rhodes was when I was hired some 30+ years ago he had a way of talking with people that made them feel better always answered there questions. A great leader and a great man. — Mark Sackett
President Rhodes was simply the best thing to happen to Cornell since Ezra Cornell. He was a matchless scientist and always inspired me. Thank you for Mrs Rhodes and the entire family for supporting his lifelong achievements . — Ingrid Berlin Center BA. ‘66
My condolences to all the family of President Rhodes. I will always remember the great leader he was and his special attention to minorities at Cornell. God Bless. Maridel Marti-Barea OR&IE 1990 San Juan, Puerto Rico — Maria del R. Marti-Barea
Deep condolences for the lost of our hero. Very sad to hear the news from Cornell Club of Thailand — Surong Bulakul
The passing of President Rhodes marks the end of the era at Cornell. Beyond being our most popular University President and greatest fund raiser, he was a true friend to all of us - and a life saver to me. Some may recall that there were a handful of students during 1981 who needed the direct intervention of President Rhodes for us to graduate from Cornell due to drastic changes in family finances. I was one of those desperate few students who, at that time, suffered with the thought of making it through three years of Cornell "rigor and fun" only to not be able to enroll for senior year. President Rhodes took the then unprecedented step of intervening directly on our behalf with the various Financial Aid Offices to stitch together the means for each of us to enroll and graduate on time. Although it took me many years to actually pay off the debt, I always thanked President Rhodes at every opportunity. His memory was remarkable - three years ago during a lunch at our 35th Reunion a dear classmate and I were able to speak with him quietly as we recalled my prior conversations with him and the whole financial mess that was overcome. President Rhodes was and always will be one of the finest men I have known. I cannot express in words the profound sadness of realizing that I shall no longer be able to shake his hand, see his smile, and hear his laugh. I pray that Rosa, his family, and all Cornellians will enjoy his company again. God bless you, Frank. I shall never forget you! — Tom Soriano - ARTS '82
President Rhodes was such a kind, courteous, and inspiring man. I enjoyed talking to him and Mrs. Rhodes in Snee Hall when I was working on my PhD and he had his office nearby as President Emeritus. I was also wonderful to hear his voice narrate some of the Earth history at the Museum of the Earth; I hope that his voice, his legacy, and his books will continue to inspire the next generations. I send my deepest condolences to Mrs. Rhodes and the family. — Joan Ramage Macdonald (PhD 2001)
When President Rhodes delivered his first address to a large gathering of Cornell alums in NYC, we were inspired by his grace, grasp of Cornell's unique role and his infectious enthusiasm. When he was asked by an audience member how we could best repay our alma mater, his answer was stunning: "First, use your gifts to make Cornell proud of you. Amount to something. But second, do all in your power to improve your local public schools." His words made us proud to be Cornellians and his life showed us how carry that pride through the world. — M CARR FERGUSON '52 and '54
Frank Rhodes was an fantastic leader, scholar and human being. My words will not do his memory justice, but he was truly an amazing man and made it to quite a few of my recalled memories of Cornell. His speech at our graduation in 1994 inspired not only the graduates there but our families as well. — Nilay Shah
I arrived at Cornell in 1984 as a Freshman, landing in U-Hall 4, and trying to figure out what college was. The first week of classes there was a bus that would take any interested student to a welcome dinner reception hosted by the Rhodes at their home. With little expectation, and a good bit of curiosity, I stepped aboard. When I stepped off I was met by two of the most welcoming and gracious hosts imaginable. That was just the beginning. The evening was an amazing night of two passionately committed humans, helping to share their vision of what a Cornell student could do to change the world. I listened, then questioned, then absorbed their vision. Today, having spent my career as a professor, I can clearly see the impact they had on my life decisions. I only hope the family that mourns them now understands what a profound impact they had on so many like myself. God Bless Frank and all my condolences for Rosa. — Paul Crovella
My condolences to Rosa and the entire Rhodes family. I am a graduate of the class of 1988 and had the honor of working for Cornell Catering and working events at the Rhodes home. As a Hotel Major I learned so much of the hospitality business from the example that both Frank and Rosa set. You were gracious to your guests and as gracious to us as workers in your home. The night always ended with us cleaning up and Frank getting the vacuum cleaner out to help. It is a moment that will always stay with me. I have made it back for many reunions and always made it a point to hear Frank speak or stop by at the end of Cornelliana night to say hi. I don't know if he truly remembered me but he always made me felt that he did. He will be truly missed but his legacy will live on in all the lives he touched. Sharon Stemme '88 — Sharon Stemme
Working in President Rhodes' office as a student at Cornell was one of my great honors. What a tremendous man he was - of unflagging intellectual inquiry and graciousness to all. I'll never forget deciphering his handwriting to type up the newest book he was writing (all by hand) and cutting out his printed travel schedules to fit his shirt pocket precisely. What a full and wonderful life he lived! — Morgan Martin Mamudi '09
Through my long friendship with Esther Bondareff '37, who passed away 2 years ago at the age of 102, I had the privilege of attending an annual dinner hosted by Esther in Palm Beach in February. Frank and Rosa Rhodes were annual attendees and it was a joy to be with them. My deep condolences to Rosa and the Rhodes family. Their contributions to the prestige and reputation of Cornell as a premier academic institution are immeasurable. Rest in peace President Rhodes. — H Jay Spiegel
Tom Sharpe ‘69 and I ‘70 offer our deepest sympathy to Rosa Rhodes and family members on their loss of Emeritus President Frank Rhodes. President Rhodes was a superb leader of our beloved Cornell University and founder of the President’s Council of Cornell Women with alumnae Pat Carrry Stewart ‘53 and Lilyan Affinito ‘50. — Murem and Tom Sharpe
To the Rhodes Family, Please know I am thinking of you tonight and wishing you peace. "Frank" was an amazing scholar and excellent University President. I bumped into him at a reunion event, his first words were, "Well, what are you up to?". He loved everything Cornell, from the bottom up. While I am sad, I am mostly grateful to have known him. May you feel his warmth always. — Thilde Peterson
This is such a simple thing, but I remember walking past Frank as we (a river of graduating students) made our way to the graduation ceremony. Students were waving to him and cheering, and he was cheering back enthusiastically, both hands clasped together. I had never spoken to him, yet I felt as though he was proud of each of us — and as excited for our prospects as we were. — Christine McGuinness
Just a few lines to express my condolences to his wife and family. Many memories came to my mind when my husband call me to tell me the news of his passing away since I was traveling and I was not able to check the mails. Now that I could turn on the computer, I will like to share one of those memories and I choose when my husband, Carlos Francisco Crosetti and I had the pleasure of participating in the commencement ceremony in 1988 before returning to Argentina, as we both finished our PhD’s. I still see him in the balcony clapping his hands as we were walking along and listen “Pomp and Ceremony” as well as the bells from the Mc Graw Tower that sunny day. I think that was one of the happiest days in my life! And HE made it so special. This is why, in my living room, I had his picture with both of us that day. Thank you President Rhodes , we will miss you, and we feel very proud to have attended Cornell during your leadership. Celina Buscaglia Barreda — Celina Buscaglia
President Rhodes was an extraordinary scholar and leader but also a generous mentor. I was fortunate enough to meet him first as a junior professor at a his and Rosa's gracious holiday parties and continuing on until, much more recently, as the chair of his home department, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. To walk across campus with him, even a decade after his retirement, was an remarkable, and humbling, experience. Not only did everyone want to stop to chat with him, but he knew everyone's names and had a special word for each. To paraphrase A. A. Milne: "How fortunate we are to have known someone who makes saying goodbye so difficult." Indeed. — Rick Allmendinger, A.B. '75, Professor Emeritus, Earth & Atmospheric Sciences
I sat next to President Rhodes and his wife during an event in New York City. I was struck by how both of them were so genuine and down-to-earth, and kind. Both of them have my undying respect. — Donna Chin
My son, Kevin Paul Bernard Johnson graduated from Cornell in Electrical Engineering more than 20 years ago and I was fortunate along with my now-deceased wife and father along with Kevin's brother to attend the graduation ceremony. I have a never-forgettable memory of Dr. Rhodes standing and shaking hands with each individual in the line up of all the relatives and friends of the graduates. He was very much a "Class Act" brother. I shall never forget his generosity with his time, his actions on behalf of Cornell, his graciousness to each of us, and the speeches we were privileged to hear. He was truly an unforgettable individual and we and all of Kevin's family thank him for all the benefits for which he was directly responsible in bestowing on my son, Kevin. James Leland Johnson — James Leland Johnson
President Rhodes was always enthusiastic and engaging. He exemplified the spirit of Cornell. I had the luck of running into him when he traveled to Hong Kong from Tokyo twenty years ago. I attended Cornell events in Hong Kong and it reinforced my spirit and appreciation of a Cornell education and affiliation. His charisma and inclusive attitude made that possible. — Steven A. Ludsin
May he rest in peace in the next world and grateful for his work to continue to make Cornell a top institution. — TAIMUR KHAN
I'm sad at the passing on of the late Dr. Rhodes. I enjoyed my 3 years in Cornell and attributed the quality education I received then to his affable leadership. I'm a School Directress and I still use Cornell as a reference to what I do in our school, Jubilee Christian Academy. In some ways, Dr. Rhodes' impact on Cornell is carried on to our school. May the Lord comfort the family of the late Dr. Rhodes. I thank God that He blessed Cornell with Dr. Rhodes. — Sally Lim Coyukiat
I first saw him speak at my older brother's graduation, in 1985. Needless to say, I was utterly charmed, even then, at an age when young boys are not easily impressed. Later, as freshman myself in 1987, I randomly ran into him rushing out of the admissions building one afternoon. I'll never forget it, as it was the only time I ever had a personal interaction with him. I remember he was wearing a long, camel colored overcoat, and looked as stately as ever. He was moving so fast, that I kind of stopped and stared to try to assess if that was actually FHTR, or my imagination? He noticed me doing that double-take, and instantly stopped his rush, long enough to greet me, and say hello. I knew he was in a hurry, and so didn't keep him, but the fact that he did that made a huge impression on me. It was then I could tell from his energy, that he loved his job, and loved the students, and just was an amazing person. I was fortunate to see him speak at 3 more graduations (my brother's masters, and my own bachelors and masters). At the final one, I'll never forget him joking how the class of '92 saw the first rainy graduation in 20 years... he said "class of 92, I fear for you!" haha! I'm getting tears in my eyes now, even though I never knew the man. That is the type of energy he possessed. Considering the impression he made on me, in such a brief interaction, I'm not surprised he so so widely and passionately loved by so many. I'd say RIP, but FHTR is not resting... he is alive, vibrant, and well, in all our memories. Party on, President Rhodes. We love you forever. — Douglas Rosich
One of the real life heroes in my life. He was a great friend of my fathers and I think that was the only reasonI that I was allowed to go to Cornell instead of Michigan. My Dad always said, "deep down Frank Rhodes roots were in Michigan, his education was in Michigan and his pre-Cornell career? Michigan!" However, the most lasting of all my memories of President Rhodes was the speech he gave at my graduation where he cautioned us not to be YUPPIES (because that was the norm back in my day), but instead to forge our own paths. To blaze our own original goals and live an uncommon live of authenticity. Words I will never forget and always try to live up to. RIP Frank Rhodes and I THANK YOU for all you were. This girl from Petoskey Michigan has been forever changed by you. — Katie Brown
I remember Frank Rhodes as an outstanding speaker and I later heard his online presentation "Earth: A Tenant's Manual," which he delivered when he was in his mid-80s. The energy, enthusiasm, and clarity of his presentation should serve as a role model for all of us in terms of the kind of life we can have, even in our older years, if we have work we love and enjoy. — Bill Levinson, M.Eng. '82
Frank Rhodes was a true leader and scholar. He will forever be a shining star among Cornellians who knew him. I particularly enjoyed my conversations with him and his dear wife Rosa, whether in the U.S. or in Hong Kong where he had visited a number of times. I and many others will miss him dearly and my condolences to Rosa. — Eugenie Shen '78
I was a student when President Rhodes was the president of Cornell. I thank President Rhodes for making Cornell such a great university. The five years I spent (4 in undergraduate and 1 in the master's program) at Cornell were one of the most important periods of my life! I was exposed to excellent curriculum, intellectually-inspiring professors and fellow students, and a free-thinking culture. Cornell is very advanced in cultivating its students. As a computer science major, I was able to learn not just the important theories of algorithm, automaton, discrete math, combinatorial logics, but also very advanced topics (considering the time) such as computer graphics, objected-oriented languages, and artificial intelligence. The experience at Cornell has shaped my philosophy of life! Thank you, president Rhodes, and my condolences go out to his extended family. — Jennifer C. Chang
I attended Cornell from 1981 through 1984 (officially class of 85). At some point I had the privilege of meeting him in a small group. We use the word 'leader' now to mean almost anyone now but real leadership is rare. Recently I participated in a tribute to a leader that embodied care for organizational mission as well as respect for the individual. A true leader provides assurance that your role, whether student, member, or employee is of value and purpose. Frank Rhodes, with immense grace, did that. I wish his family comfort in knowing how many people he inspired. — Georgette Asherman
My deepest condolences on the loss of a man who left such a legacy to be proud of. Both my dad (4o yrs.) and mom (2o yrs.) worked here at Cornell and they always, always spoke highly of him as the president of this university. So when I came to campus to work in 1980 I wanted to see for myself this man they spoke so highly of and what I saw was a person who did his job well and respected and valued all those here on campus, no matter what position they held. He was a man of very high integrity! — Deena Haines
Having graduated a decade before Frank's arrival at Cornell, I had the good fortune to make his acquaintance, first serendipitously while wandering around the campus at reunion and later traveling with Frank and Rosa on a couple of Cornell Alumni University ventures to the Aegean Sea, Greece and Turkey and then to the Galapagos Islands. He wove together geology, archeology, evolution, history, and the Bible as though they always should have been taught in concert. Frank was that rare great man, who, because of extraordinary kindness and humility, was not at all intimidating, making himself readily accessible and open to relationships and sharing his intellect in a casual, almost folksy manner. We regularly ran into each other at Cornell events and reunions and he always remembered me, asked for my family, and shared reminiscences. It was never an imposition if I needed information or a small favor. His magnetism and energy were exceptional for an individual of any age. It seems like yesterday when Frank scampered effortlessly up the steep cliffs of Santorini, leaving those half his age gasping for breath. His contributions to Cornell were exceptional and like all great leaders and teachers will continue to be felt in perpetuity. — Richard D. Tunick '67
I went on a CAU education trip to Japan in 2006 that Frank was onboard the ship. He was kind, smart and helpful. I dined several nights with him and enjoyed his company. I also enjoyed his geological lectures about the formation of the Japanese Islands. I was a student during the time he was President . He was a very special person. — Scott Picon
Frank Rhodes was a gracious man with an eloquent voice. It was always special hear him speak. I remember sitting and talking with him at La Guardia decades ago while we were waiting on a flight to Ithaca. I was returning from a medical appointment about problems with my voice and he was very sympathetic, having recently had voice problems himself. Although we had really just met, by the time our flight was called he had made me feel like we were old friends. I remember him with fondness and trust. — Michael Thonney
So sorry for your loss of a very influential man. You are in our thoughts and prayers. — Danielle Dean-Manzer
Frank Rhodes was the most impressive person I have every met. Towering intellect together with a quiet humility and a sincere interest in everyone he encountered. I remember the year that Peter Meinig and I were incoming freshmen on the board and has our orientation luncheon with Frank. I asked him to comment to the relationships between trustees and the administration. He said in was simply a matter of anatomy : noses in and fingers out. — Peter G. Ten Eyck II
As one of the few non-cornellians in the Tohn family I always felt welcome and included. I met Frank at many Cornell University Council meetings when Jerry was on Council and participated on several CAU trips led by him, with Rosa always by his side ( carrying his portfolio of maps). One of my clearest memories was from the CAU trip to Kenya and Tanzania where local Cornell graduates were invited to one of our dinners. He took special care to seek them out, talk to them about who they were and learn about their current activities. He gifted them with Cornell shirts and they grinned with pleasure. On one of our excursions on that trip we sere in the same vehicle and witnessed a lion kill. My reaction was rather challenging and he graciously helped me recover. Always a gentleman and with a smile. — Diane "Deedy" Tohn
Cornell and the world has lost a shining star that will be difficult if not impossible to replace. Affable, visionary, steadfast and humane, President Rhodes embodied all that I saw as exemplary in academic leaders. His arrival midway through my undergraduate years literally blew a wind of change and humanity over the Ithaca campus. While his presence was not as evident during my years at CUMC, he would from time to time come to New York to lecture and to interact with students and faculty. My greatest regret is that I was introduced to Frank Rhodes at the start of my academic career, a fact which created an all-too-high bar for the senior leaders of any of the subsequent institutions where I have worked. We will miss your grace, intelligence and genuine love for Cornell, but will never forget how fortunate we all were to have been at Cornell during your Presidency and post-Presidency year. My deepest condolences to your family. — Lee Shulman
I had the privilege of driving Frank and Rosa on campus for their annual visits to Reunioning Class events. They were gracious, generous and respectful of everyone, and especially me. Frank had a way of making people feel like they mattered. That was a gift to the university - and to everyone who knew him. — Tony Simione
I am so sorry to learn of President Rhodes’ passing. He was the consummate gentleman scholar and one of the kindest, and simultaneously most effective leaders I’ve had the opportunity to witness. His Irish prayer at our 1986 graduation inspired my family so much that my father cited Frank Rhodes and repeated the prayer at my 1996 wedding. When I was back at Cornell as a law student in the mid-90s, I invited President Rhodes to speak at a forum because I wanted my fellow law students to have the chance to meet him. Needless to say, he was as gracious and perspicacious as always. My deepest condolences to his family. — Emily Mathes Kuvin
My deepest condolences to the Rhodes family. María V. Yépez '86, Quito, Ecuador — María V. Yépez
Rarely do you have the opportunity to learn from someone like Frank H.T. Rhodes. He was our commencement speaker and to this day I recall advice he bestowed upon us so eloquently. In his exceptional style, he said 'do not mortgage all your todays for some vague and gossamer tomorrow.' Years later, when he visited a Cornell alumni event in our city, I was able to thank him for all he did for us and Cornell. I reminded him of that advice and he said 'and still true today!' He will be missed. — Patricia Enggaard Betz
Thank you President Rhodes, for your wisdom and leadership. To his family: I hope the love so many Cornellians feel for him comforts you at your time of loss. — Sharon Raider
My heartfelt condolences for an inspirational and beloved leader who emanated his passion for the Cornell community. I warmly remember his speech at my graduation in 1987 and I feel a personal loss for current Cornellians who did not meet him or hear his humor, wisdom and dedication. A great loss that is tempered by the gifts he gave. — Hilary Curtis
I was in my senior year and working for Cornell Catering when I found myself working at a function at the Rhodes home. He greeted the catering staff and asked us questions about our studies. I was in awe of this great man who treated us like people and not hired help. The impact on me is clear from how well I remember the incident. My sincere condolences to his family. Gari Blumberg, A&LS 1978 — Gari Blumberg, A&LS 1978
On the Sunday morning of my 25th class reunion, my wife and I decided to attend a service at Sage Chapel. Shortly after seating ourselves, I realized we were sitting behind Dr. Rhodes and his wife. I felt honored. I had such deep respect for Dr. Rhodes that our mere proximity to him in church was exhilarating and uplifting for me. You see, some years early, he had addressed an assembly in Barton Hall during another reunion, as was his custom. His talk was uplifting; I left the talk with a very positive view of the world. It was a good feeling. A few years later, he came to Wilmington, DE, where I resided at the time, to address the Philadelphia area alumni. He made me feel proud to be a Cornellian when he recited all the awards, including the many Nobel Prize recipients, held by the then current faculty. He was a great orator, but more than that he was able to imbue his audience with a greater sense of purpose and feeling of pride rarely matched. He was a great leader. — Charles W. Smith III
Somehow Frank Rhodes seemed to be indestructible. His death, then, even at ninety-three, was a grievous and unpleasant shock, even for a Cornell veteran of around fifty years. I guess I'd supposed that perhaps an exception would be mad, in his case, to the relentless rules of mortality. His astonishing capacity, which he shared with Rosa, for making himself available to all, for receiving us into their home, and for recognizing faculty and staff by face and by name (even when off campus), and for knowing what we did, made us all feel that we mattered as individual persons in the often impersonal world of a large institution. That's why so many feel his passing as a very personal and human loss, as that of a friend, a dear friend. His greatness, which marks him off from us mere mortals, is that he did routinely over almost two decades as Cornell's president, what many of us could never have done once in a lifetime anywhere. And Cornell was as deeply envied as honored by the world for having him as its President. — Frederick Ahl
I met Frank Rhodes at Cal Tech when my daughter and I attended a reception for future students. He greeted us so warmly saying he looked forward to seeing Allison on campus! I shall never forget that evening which made such a wonderful first, and lasting impression. Rosa was always at his side. I did not know he had 4 daughters but I do know he was the perfect "girl dad." Cornell was, indeed, blessed to have this amazing man at the helm for so long. Allison and I were blessed to have known him. We send our deepest condolences to the Rhodes family. Marion Travalini Rodd, '63 Allison Rodd Ceppi, '92 — Marion Travalini Rodd
My condolences to the Rhodes family. I have always been fascinated by the polar regions. When I found out Frank Rhodes was leading a trip to Antarctica shortly after he retired, my thought was "I better go now, who knows how much longer he will be this active." So my wife and I went on that trip in Dec 2003 -Jan 2004. The trip was all we hoped for with Frank living up to all of the good things we had heard about him. We ate breakfast across the table from him one morning and I asked him how much longer he would be leading trips. His reply was "As long as it feels good." I had no idea the many years since then that he led trips. The opportunity to meet people like him was one of the reasons I came to Cornell. I was not disappointed. — Bill De Cou Ag 1968
His sage words at the 1994 graduation are even more important today than they were all those years ago. The graduates were facing a tough job market and he advised, "Those of you who are lucky will get great jobs, those of you who are even luckier will build great careers, but the luckiest are those who find their calling." Great words from a great man. He will be missed by all. With great admiration, respect and awe for what he accomplished, Ronnie Oppenheim Mother of Meredith Oppenheim '95 Chad Oppenheim '94 — Ronnie Oppenheim
Dear Rosa and Cornell Family, As many have stated, it is a shock that our beloved President Rhodes is no longer with us. I had the wonderful privilege of working directly for him, as the Director of Commencement from 89-95. Our family has a unique connection in that at President Rhodes's 1st Commencement in 1978, I walked with my husband in the procession and then into the Crescent stands. And then at his last Commencement in 1995, I was the coordinator of the entire event. Who would have thought that to be in 1978. After a few years as the Director of Commencement, President Rhodes came to me one day after a hectic Commencement and in his wonderful British accent...."Connie...we need to do something to honor the PhD Graduates at their own event. Please do that for me." And with that simple request, the PhD Recognition Ceremony was born and continues to this day over 25 years later. He was just a wonderful human being on this earth and will be missed by so many!! — Connie Mabry
I was a librarian at Olin Library from 1976 to 2019. Once I had the privilege of greeting President Rhodes when he visited Olin Library. His graceful manner and friendliness has been always in my mind. My condolences to Mrs. Rhodes and the Rhodes family. Teresa Mei — Teresa Mei
I'll always remember President Rhodes address me and all of the incoming freshman class at Barton, with his " Cohhhr-nelll" speach. That accent, that confidence, and that pride felt so genuine and uplifting. I can still hear it ringing in my ears. Thank you Frank Rhodes for your remarkable contributions to an even more remarkable University. — Gary Weinstein
When I read the condolences, I am impressed but not surprised by the number of young students whose lives were touched by President Rhodes. He must have interacted with thousands of students every year yet he made each of us feel special, and each meeting seem like the most important one of the day to him. I was barely on campus a few weeks my freshman year when I had a chance to meet President Rhodes. He joked that he was only a junior himself (this was in 1979, his third year as president) and he was still finding his place! He paused for a second and continued, commenting that he was sure we would grow in confidence at Cornell together! Despite the passage of many years, the warm and comforting feeling that his words gave me and the inspiration I took from his positive attitude remain as bright and strong today as when I was a 17 year old freshman. — Julie Carlin-Sasaki '83
A quote of his (1977 address at Sage Chapel) from my "Cornell Days" scrapbook's last page; and words to live by: Faith, intuition and insight are not apart from reason, but are based upon reason, and undergird it, for we may not confuse that map of reason of the landscape of life with the reality of the landscape and country of life over which we travel together. Behind them all there is an ultimate coherence, difficult in the extreme to find, but still there as the prize to be sought. We must see beyond the particulars, the universals; we must seek in the day to day events of life the eternal significance, "the ultimate in the penultimate," the relatedness of things. I have puzzled over and lived out these thoughts for 40-odd years, and he remains a lifetime inspiration. My thanks for the time we had, and what a time it was, wouldn't have missed it for anything! — Martha (Galli-) Leslie
Most sincere condolences to Rosa and family. Thank you for so unselfishly sharing your husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather with Cornell and for supporting him in all of the wonderful things that he did for us, the Cornell Community. Catching him on an early morning jog through the Plantations was always a highlight of my Cornell reunions! — John E. Molinda BSEE 77
Although Frank Rhodes was Dean of Cornell University during part of my tenure there, I never personally met him. However, he seemed to be to me the very epitome of poise and class. He commanded respect and admiration from those around him and even from a ne’er do well as myself from a distance. I am truly sorry he is gone and offer my sincerest condolences to his family. — Mario Villanueva
These words: May the sun shine gently on your face; May the wind be at your back; May the road ride to meet you; May God hold you in the hollow of his hand; Until we meet again. — Rachel Zweighaft
I started at Cornell in 1992 while Pres. Rhodes was in office, and I partied with him at his home in both 1992 and 1993 after he invited all the commencement volunteers to his home as a thank-you. I was humbled at the invitation and then made to feel like I was his best friend when he greeted me at the house. And yes, he remembered me the next year. He made filling the office of the President a very difficult act to follow and remains today how I picture the ideal candidate for the job. I also had the pleasure of speaking with him while his granddaughter studied for her BFA at Cornell, a lovely young woman. My sincerest condolences to his family for the tremendous loss you must endure. — Sarah Albrecht
Dear Rosa, Chip and I are so sorry for you and your family. You and President Rhodes have meant a lot to us, both for Cornell and as our friends. Patty — Patty Bettle
Class of '86. Frank Rhodes embodied the spirit of Cornell. He loved the place and we loved him back. He made us proud to be a Cornellians. May he rest in peace. — Mark Hansen
When Frank Rhodes became President, Cornell had just been through the trying years of the late 1960's. After his arrival, his inspiring leadership brought back a sense of pride to the Cornell community as to what kind of a University Cornell was and optimism as to what the future would bring. His example as a scholar, leader, and warm human being has made made him one of our greatest Presidents. It was a privilege to work with him. — Malden Nesheim
It was freshman orientation week in the fall of 1985. Among the many activities that week intended to introduce Cornell was a visit to the home of President and Mrs. Rhodes. Two buses at a time left west campus every hour or so for their home in Cayuga Heights. How special it was for an 18-year old just beginning his college years to meet the University President and his wife! They were the most gracious of hosts! Engaging, full of energy, and excited for all of us who were now part of the Cornell family. I've been to all my reunions and always looked forward to saying hello to them and sharing stories of life after Cornell. We were blessed to have such leadership while he was president and in the years thereafter. Prayers for the Rhodes family and the greater Cornell community. He will be greatly missed. — Chris Galante
I've been a journalist for 57 years---and I don't get impressed much nowadays. But Frank Rhodes was impressive. I first met him and Rosa in 2007 when I joined the Sarasota Club and came to the 50th Anniversary party. Two of the most down-to-earth people you could imagine. As important---Frank was an extraordinary ex-tempore speaker---and a fountain of information about---and love for---Cornell. I don't say this often: we've lost an incredibly impressive man. Mike Eisgrau CU '62 — Mike Eisgrau '62
I am deeply heartbroken to hear of the passing of a legend, Dr. Frank H. T. Rhodes. While he did not know me personally, I made a point to meet Dr. Rhodes at the 1994 commencement. Dr. Rhodes was gracious and warm as ever, and took the time to pose in a photo with me. To this day, I cherish that photo. Thank you for the precious memory, Sir. Rest from your labor in eternal peace. -Sharon Parker, Ph.D. '98 — Sharon Parker
My dear Condolences to Mrs. Rosa and her dear family. President Rhodes was a great and inspiring person in my graduate years at Cornell (1980-1987) Regards, J. Fernando Ramirez — juan fernando ramirez
Upon my retirement from the Army in 1978, following 15 years on the faculty at the U. S. Military Academy at West Point (my Alma Mater), I joined the faculty of Chemical Engineering at Cornell as a Senior Research Associate. In 1982 I was elected to a tenured full professorship and appointed Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Study in the College of Engineering. In 1984 I was appointed Dean of the College of Engineering, a post I held until 1993. I retired from Cornell in 1995, so my entire time at Cornell was during the Presidency of Frank Rhodes. We became close friends, and he was the most capable and inspiring leader I have ever known. Working under his guidance and inspiration encouraged me to do the very best I could during that time, which was the highlight of my academic career. I will be forever in his debt. — William Streett
I remember being a lost first-generation undergraduate student walking across campus seeing President Rhodes walking towards me. He stopped me to say hello and to ask me how I was doing, and he took the time to listen to my response. After that I didn’t feel as lonely at Cornell anymore. After my family attended the commencement ceremonies in Schoellkopf Field my grandmother stopped on our walk back to the car to sit and rest. President Rhodes happened to walk by and when he saw my grandmother sitting down by Day Hall he stopped and took the time to speak to her. She was so happy to have the president of the University take the time to speak with her after he had just spoken so eloquently to a jam-packed stadium. As he always does, Rhodes offered the graduates that day his traditional benediction, a Gaelic blessing: May the road rise to meet you May the wind be always at your back May the sun shine warm upon your face, the rains fall soft upon your fields, and until we meet again May God hold you in the palm of his hand. Rest in peace. — Alicia Torrey ‘83
President Rhodes was exactly the right type of leader for Cornell. His speeches, his presence, and his accessibility modelled for us the best aspects of effective leadership: humility, humor, wisdom, and a relentless commitment to pursue "better" in one's undertakings. He was equally tough and kind, and I'm grateful to have been a student at Cornell under his watch. — Paul Joseph
Brad and I are very sad about the passing of Cornell President Emeritus Frank H.T. Rhodes. We attended his Inauguration together when we were undergraduates, he spoke so eloquently at our Commencement (and at future ones and so many other events we attended), and we benefited from living in the same neighborhood where we might run into him and Rosa at the store, at church, at a restaurant or taking a walk. When we were honored with the alumni service award that bears his name, our honor was quadrupled when we were seated with them that evening. Our acceptance remarks are quoted in the Comments below since we naturally referenced memories of his impact on us personally, too. Brad shared: "It is such an honor to receive this award, named for an iconic leader in higher education, Frank Rhodes. Like many of you, I first heard President Rhodes in Barton Hall giving his Inaugural Address, which though it is not his title, I refer to it as the “Perhaps, Cornell” speech. And maybe that “haunting” comment helped spur my involvement, and I suspect the involvement of many other Cornellians. I do know that President Rhodes has most certainly inspired many Cornellians to deepen their connections and commitment to the University. I am one of them and quite proud to say thank you to President Rhodes for his example and thank you to the University for allowing me to volunteer." And Mary: "I am thankful that my Newswriting class met on President Rhodes’ inauguration day; we were required to attend and write about our new leader and that very special occasion submitting our articles by a 5 pm deadline." In addition to the major news story we each prepared, there were bonus points awarded if you could secure a quote that wasn't part of the official public speech. I mustered all of my courage and approached the newly minted Cornell President at a reception in the Mann Library foyer. Shaking his hand, we made our first personal connection and I got the quote I needed! — Mary Maxon Grainger '79 '87 and Bradley R. Grainger '79
As an incoming freshman in the Fall of 1985 to the College of Human Ecology, my first contact with President Rhodes was during his speech to us in Barton Hall before classes began. Coming from a small, rural NYS highschool, his British accent, eloquent demeanor and wisdom blew me away. I will always remember him saying, "Look to your left..... look to your right, one of the three of you will not be here in four years...." That statement made such an influence on me. I vowed then and there that no matter how much it took, I was going to be one of the ones to make it through the challenges that Cornell threw my way those four years......and I did. God bless him and much sympathy to his family during this tough time of loss. — Jerrianne KH Scheiderich
One time, a super dorky younger me walked out of the campus store towards East Avenue. I forget where I was going but I remember all of a sudden seeing President Rhodes and a group about to pass me. He looked right at me and gave me a smile and a "How are you?!" 30+ years later his smile is still so vivid in my mind. I also remember that he urged us during his commencement speech not to fail life. Since then I've used that urging as a pick-me-up for myself in my down times. I am grateful to have had my time at Cornell in my life experiences, and I am grateful for President Rhodes' efforts in making our university such a wonderful place. Thank you President Rhodes. Rest in peace. — Rob Wu '90
There are two things I'll never forget about President Rhodes. The first occurred in the spring of 1983 when I was taking Bio 274 (The Vertebrates) and he came in to give a guest lecture about the early evolution of vertebrates. The professor of the class--his name I don't remember--said "So welcome to The Vertebrates, Cornell president Frank H.T. Rhodes." After a round of applause, he said "Thank you...many times, university presidents are looked at as INvertebrates, so I am glad to be welcomed to the vertebrates." The other was at the graduation of the class of 1984; despite many of the students claiming to not like Rhodes nor what he stood for, I could hear the entire crowd chanting "We want Frank! We want Frank!" While I don't claim to agree with all of his stands on various subjects, I certainly did--and still do--deeply respect him. We've lost a great man: all I can say is, thank you, and my condolences to his family. — Leonard Pinsker
I remember his speech, outside on the hill next to Uris Library, at a time when suicides on campus were a problem, and my enthusiasm for continuing college was low. Things looked a lot better at the end of his talk. That was impressive. One quote, that I still remember: "There is always one last solution to every problem. The door." It seems counter-intuitive from someone who you'd think was trying to motivate, but it also came across as deadly honest. Respect. — Walter Breidenstein '80
It is with great sadness I morn the loss of President Frank Rhodes and my heart goes out to his family. To me Frank Rhodes was and always will be the voice of Cornell. He and I were both freshman at Cornell in 1977. A cold and rainy night early that fall my mother started a conversation with a couple having dinner next to us at the Statler cafeteria. It was President Rhodes and we both wished each other success on our journeys to come. The next semester President Rhodes visited the architects at Sibley for a photo shot and I was honored to be seated next to him and have a talk. Long after graduation President Rhodes honored me again during a football game and sat down and spoke with me. Although our words are lost to me the impression he made on me will always live on in me. His words at Carl Sagan’s memorial were so powerful and his voice filled the Cathedral of St. John the Divine the microphones had to be turned off. The greatest memory was at a alumni speech at Bailey Hall one reunion when he spoke of “This Place Called Cornell”. He captured my heart and how I felt about Cornell. A tear still comes to me, I concur “This Place Called Cornell” is a part of me and always will be; thank you President Rhodes! — Jonathan Welsh BArch ‘82
Frank and I started our time at Cornell at the same time, 1977. I came to Cornell from the West, not knowing a soul. I quickly felt at home, mostly because of the visibility, availability and optimism of Frank. Unlike many university presidents, he was an engaged leader that was out and about and attending events. His magnetic smile provided comfort, support and a feeling of belonging. I treasure my fond memories of Frank and my time on campus. — Louise Hurlbut
Frank was a man of the time. His leadership and vision were exemplary, just what Cornell needed. He was comfortable to be with, talk with and made you feel like an instant friend. Rosa complemented him to a "T". We loved his speeches -- his presentations made you feel like he had invented the English language! We shall miss his scholarship greatly. Our condolences to the Rhodes family. — Ronald and Anne Furry
Dear Rosa, Betsey and I are saddened by Frank’s passing. We offer our deepest condolences to you and the entire extended Rhodes’ family. Please know you are in our hearts and prayers. A few of my recollections of President Rhodes. I first heard Frank’s name mentioned by George M. Low in 1978, then the newly installed President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Frank advised him to look to Stanford as the model for a technology driven university. And so he did! Five years later RPI opened the now successful Rensselaer Tech Park modeled after Stanford’s Industrial Park. Such was Frank’s reach and willingness to assist other senior campus leaders, regardless of academic or athletic rivalry. Frank was inspirational, visionary and often metaphorical. He rarely gave a direct order, at least not to me and never to my staff. He believed in the chain-of-command. As a member of his senior staff for nearly ten years, I/we worked collaboratively and tried very hard to not disappoint him. Under his guidance we also learned to work effectively with the committees of the Board of Trustees. James E. Morley, Jr., Senior Vice President Emeritus — James E. Morley, Jr.
I distinctly remember the commencement address President Rhodes delivered to us in May 1993. In it he referenced the 1992 film Howards End and urged us to "connect and only connect." Those words have reverberated in my head ever since and I have tried to follow that sage advice in my life. It has made all the difference. Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to meet President Rhodes in person, but friends and professors who had all say that he was a kind and warm person. He was truly an amazing individual. My sincere condolences to the Rhodes family. Rest in peace, Frank Rhodes. — Dhaval Shukla '93
President Rhodes was truly a great man. I remember having the opportunity to meet him as a freshman at one of his breakfasts with the president. What really amazed me was that he took the time to find out a little bit about each student attending and that he knew details about every department that we represented. He was a great leader and embodied all of the best qualities of a true Cornellian. He will truly be missed. — Todd Peskin
Frank was orderly. In almost all of his speeches, he used lists - "first," "second," "third," he would say. Sometimes, he varied the ranks of the same items. But when it came to his loves, Rosa and the family were always first. With such profound affection serving as a highly personal springboard, he was then empowered to love others, particularly Cornell and everyone whose names and lives he was driven to remember. That caring, in turn, fueled his immense rigor, curiosity, intelligence, and leadership. Judy, Bonnie, Beanie, and I were each honored to be welcomed by Frank and Rosa, in the course of assignments and projects, on trips, and in numerous discussions. More that that, we were blessed by all of the personal time we spent together in the welcoming warmth of their company. Rosa, love of Frank's life, our thoughts are with you and your family. — Bruce A Eissner '65
Frank Rhodes was, quite simply, the consummate University President. A great intellect, combined with great charm and humility -- you wanted to follow wherever this man would lead. From his inauguration in our senior year, to our graduation, to his attendance at Class of '78 reunion events, time spent with Frank H.T. Rhodes was never wasted, and always valuable and comforting. We knew that the University that we care so deeply about, up on the Hill, was in good and capable hands. Rest in peace Frank, and thank you for your dedication to Cornell. — Douglas Johnson
My wife, Nancy, BSHE 54, were privileged to take two CAE cruises with Rosa and Frank, one through the Chilean fjords and the other around the British Isles. On the Chilean trip, Frank and Rosa were always members of the group, talking freely and extensively with us and other members. In sharp contrast, Stanford's president was always holding the group up while he held a special conversation with one person. On the British Isle trip, we stopped at Dublin and visited Trinity College where Frank was greeted like visiting royalty. No courtesy was too good for him or his group. Frank and Rosa also participated in the celebration of Cornell's 125 anniversary in San Francisco. Frank, Stanford's president, and the Chancellor of UC Berkeley were featured at a Commonwealth Club presentation, where Frank was clearly the class of the meeting. On visits to the campus, Nancy and I were always greeted warmly by both Frank and Rosa. It has been a privilege and joy to know them. Paul Jones — Paul S. Jones, BME 51
Entering Cornell in the Fall of 1976, I remember well the installation of Frank as President (no disrespect, most of my friends privately just called him Frank). I recall his wonderful speaking. But I especially remember bumping into him with some of my team mates in the Teagle locker room as his locker happened to be in the same area as the 150s crew. I think Frank had been playing squash. Wrapped in a towel like the rest of us, he was "one of the guys," just smarter and older. I left feeling that he was delighted to see us and clearly enjoyed engaging with students. It was only after I graduated and grew up a bit that I realized how fortunate I had been to a student while Frank was President. He was such a towering figure but had a common touch. Best wishes to you all. P. Hancock class of 1980 — Partick W. Hancock
Frank H. T. Rhodes was installed as president my freshman year at Cornell, with great pomp. After that, he could frequently be seen striding about campus as he was very visible and friendly to students and indeed everyone on campus. Although internationally prominent, many called him simply "Frank" and he always had an easy grace and friendly smile to offer. He and Rosa Rhodes were seen at many public events. Later, in my senior year, his daughter Penny pledged my sorority and I remember informal visits to the President's House on Cayuga Heights Road, where an easy comfort reigned. President Rhodes exemplified true brilliance and leadership; someone with no need to impress with who he knew or what he had accomplished; quiet and friendly to all and someone who made a lasting and memorable contribution not just by scholarship and leadership, but by inspiring and lifting up those around him. He had a long, productive, and happy life and members of my class will always feel a special bond with Dr. Rhodes. Condolences to his family and thanks for sharing him with us! — Dr. Christine Isabellle Oaklander
The scholarship that bears his name has changed my life. Thank you to him always and my deepest condolences to his family. AAP, 2001 — Margarita Pajaro
Frank was always the most gracious and enlightened person I have ever known. He had a bright positive friendly attitude and was always full abreast of all the issues of that affected both Cornell and the World. He will be missed by everybody he has ever come in contact with. A most unforgettable individual. — Harvey Kinzelberg
My sheer delight in having witnessed, year upon year, Frank's superb leadership has inspired my passion for Cornell. The opportunity to be in his and Rosa's treasured company in receiving the alumni award in Frank's name nearly 10 years ago was a Cornell cherished moment, never to be forgotten. Those other incredibly dedicated alumni volunteers who have been honored in his name over the years and so many others fortunate enough to have had Frank touch them in some way will never forget him. Frank's Cornell spirit is his legacy to us all. Frank, thank you. — Jay W. Waks
Dear dear Frank Rhodes was a colossus and a friend -always. I first met him during my undergraduate years (he had the occasion to speak with my father, Saul, a Cornell alum- right before I matriculated) I was stunned when President Rhodes made an early effort to reach out to me. He was funny-brilliant-accessible (surprisingly so) -bright-caring- and open. As students -we all looked up to him. When I joined the faculty in 2001 -Frank and Rosa (neighbors-now) welcomed my new family- with zeal - back to Ithaca. Frank (and Rosa) kept in touch with us over the years--He remained a creative and considerate sounding board. The Milles Family sends our heartfelt condolences to the Rhodes family. We will always be grateful for Frank's kindness- his dedication- his profundity and his professionalism. Beth F. Milles '88 — Beth F. Milles
Cornell was clearly a better place because of Frank. Each of us that were blessed to interact with him were able to see the qualities of a gracious, caring, humble gentleman and scholar. A true loss for us all. — Joshua Nagin, BA '71, MD '75, MBA'88
Dear Rosa and Family, We were so sorry to hear about Frank. He was such a wonderful, brilliant and engaging gentleman. We always looked forward to seeing the both of you at the many events we attended at Cornell. We remember his moving commencement speeches at both our sons' graduations. . . Brad (BS M Eng 83, M M Eng 84, MBA 85), and Brian (BS M Eng 86) always ending with the Irish blessing "May the road rise to meet you, May the wind be always at your back, May the sun shine warm upon your face, The rains fall soft upon your fields, And until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of his hand. . ." We missed him at our grandson Jackson's commencement in May 2019. Jackson graduated cum laude and just received his Master's degree in December. . . making him the third generation of our family to attend Cornell. Please accept our deepest condolences from the entire Siff family: Elliott, Marlene, Brad, Brian and Jackson. — Marlene and Elliott Siff
Frank was an amazing man, human being and president. I had the pleasure of being a student when he was president as well as alumni activities from the formation of PCCW to University Council. My fondest memory is having talked to him about my son Scott's interest in geology and minerals, Frank gave me a signed copy of his book on rocks and minerals for Scott. Thank you for all you did for me, my family and Cornell. My condolences to Rosa and the rest of your family. You will be remembered for your greatness. — Randy L Allen
I remember two separate occasions in the 1980's when I worked in the basement of Day Hall during which Frank Rhodes as president displayed a physical courage, coupled with his moral courage, that left a strong impression on me. One was in 1983 or '84 when "Shantytown" was in full swing on the lawn immediately to the west of Day Hall. Mr. Rhodes was scheduled to meet with some of the protesters and of course this attracted an audience. Despite his handlers attempting to restrain him, President Rhodes walked among the somewhat hostile protesters and engaged them on their terms. The other occasion was a few years later, I am fuzzy on the details, but I remember angry students in front of Day Hall protesting something or other about changes to financial aid policy. The gatekeepers had locked the doors to the building yet Frank Rhodes walked out those doors, alone, and engaged the students. Such personal courage on his part spoke volumes to me. — Peter C Hoyt
Some 30 years ago, my wife and I went an a CAU trip to New Zealand; Frank Rhodes was our geology professor. He had flown from Ithaca airport very early that morning to Syracuse to Chicago to LA but took the trouble to walk over to greet two unfamiliar faces. A staff member later mentioned that he had helped a woman overwhelmed with a baby and small child, both crying, by taking the child and comforting him; "I wouldn't have thought of that" was her comment. Still later in the trip, he represented us in an encounter with Maori tribesmen, spontaneously establishing common ground with them by pointing out that, like them, we were an extended family and shared a love for the land. Discussing geology but lacking a pointer, he seized a Rotary banner: "I'm sure the Rotarians won't mind". Others have commented about Frank Rhodes' grace, intelligence, and memory. I can add that he was a superb teacher. And a mensch (admirable human being.) We were all so fortunate to have had him. — George Ubogy, '58
During a snowy Saturday in Winter ‘80, I was in the lobby of the ILR Extension in NYC. As I changed out of my boots into my dress shoes for an entrance interview, Frank Rhodes came into the lobby. At the time, I did not know who he was. He could see how nervous and anxious I was and almost instantaneously became a calming voice as he engaged me. Needless to say, it was a pleasant surprise to see him sitting on the panel when I went upstairs to the interview. Not only a pivotal figure in my Cornell experience, but Pres. Rhodes’ kindness would eventually lend itself to Elgin Jr. becoming a second generation Cornell Alum. Our condolences to the Rhodes family. Rest In Peace “Big Red”. — Elgin Ford Sr ‘84
Regrettably, I never met Dr Rhodes but only in passing. However, he made quite an impact in my life during my last year as an undergrad. At that time, life financially was so difficult I could not pay my tuition for my senior year at Cornell. I had received my very last notification and the university and registrar had informed me I had two weeks to leave the school. I had sought out help from the school asking for a loan for all attempt to secure private loans had been unsuccessful. I was denied. During that last week, I explained my situation to a Cornell staffer who had an idea. She told me she attends church with Dr Rhodes. She asked for permission to explain my situation to Dr Rhodes to see if he could help. I agreed as I didn’t think I had anything else to lose but possibly much to gain. Long story short, Dr Rhodes came to my aid after hearing my story and Cornell ended up granting me a loan that I’m still paying back - with my gratitude I should add. I tried to make arrangements to meet this man but that never did happen as his schedule was quite hectic. I am in tears at a man who gave so much for all and sundry. May your gentle soul Rest In Peace. I do regret not having done more to meet you. — Daniel Ampadu BSC’ 2007, MEng 2009
Frank Rhodes was the most genuinely kind person and his memory of names and topics of discussions you had with him in the past was amazing! RIP Mr Rhodes — Tina Atwell
I matriculated to Cornell in 1977 the same year that Dr Rhodes became President. Frank embodied Ezra Cornell in the pursuit of knowledge that informed me of how to take advantage of my opportunity on the Hill: "I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study." It was a wild ride in my studies and sport. I was told that I was prepared to graduate in 3 years. Dr Rhodes created an energy that is difficult to describe or interpret. As Cornell is such an integrated community, I trust his influence is well remembered. — William Patterson
My Dad, Frank Clifford Class of ‘50 and former Cornell Alumni Director, always spoke so very highly of President Rhodes. Having been introduced to him, I remember how personable and genuine he was. And I know too, that he and Mrs. Rhodes were also favorites of both my Mom and Dad as friends. The Clifford family has the Rhodes family in our prayers! — Mark Clifford
I have such fond memories of Frank Rhodes reading at our annual Sage Chapel Choir Christmas Program. He brought John's Gospel to life every year - in a way no one else could. My condolences to his family. He was an absolute treasure, and his impact will never be forgotten. — Nicki Dardinger
Words cannot describe what Frank H.T. Rhodes meant not only to Cornell University, but to all of the people he touched near and far. He was a great leader, but an even more splendid human being. He and Rosa made such a wonderful couple. Rosa please accept Sharyl and my deepest condolences to you and your family. I remember the times I heard Frank speak, and the individual and small group conversations, I always came away inspired and more positive then ever about Cornell and the world at large. In closing it seems like yesterday, and not 25 years ago when after a Cornell event in London, the Rhodes' jumped into the Rubin's car and we drove though the West End to see the new gates at Hyde Park. Frank will be missed but his memory will last for eternity. With deep respect, Greg and Sharyl Rubin — Gregory A. Rubin, BS'75, MBA'76
I am deeply saddened by the death of Frank Rhodes. He was truly loved. Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with his family and the Cornell community. — Lynn Dennis
Whenever I interacted with Frank Rhodes, I thought "this is an extraordinary man, a great man, and also a warm, generous person." — Tom Jones '69
He was my president when I attended Cornell as an undergraduate. I had the honor of having dinner at his residence. He was approachable, encouraging and a wonderful role model. I now serve as a University president and I think of Frank Rhodes many days. He was a treasure and I send my sincere condolences to his family, friends and the Cornell community. — Maria Gallo
Remembering President Rhodes is remembering his “good morning” smiles and his “hello, how are you?” to everyone in Cornell’s hallways across campus; his graciousness; and his sincere wish, and efforts, to help make Cornell an institution of high integrity and excellence—a place where one wanted to work and learn. Tina Snead, director of Research Communications, Office of the Vice Provost for Research — Tina Snead
I got to meet President Rhodes when I was an undergrad geology major. He gave a lecture in the geology department on his specialty - conodont fossils. During that marvelous lecture in that small room in Snee Hall, his warmth, his grace, his oration skills were so evident. But what was even more amazing was to realize that our president was also a well versed geology professor who still loved his work with conodonts and was able to teach everyone in the room that day about his passion. From that day, I have always been proud to know President Rhodes as one of my Professors. My condolences to his family in this difficult time. — James A. Upright, '90
President Rhodes' will be remembered for his great leadership. He listened, he cared, he researched, he responded, and he guided Cornell to the forefront of great universities throughout the world. He will be missed! — Judy Kellner Rushmore
As I listen to my father explain his experience at Cornell, he often reaches back to his first interaction with Mr. Rhodes. I never had the pleasure to meet. However, I am overwhelmingly thankful for him and the hand, I KNOW, he had in my ultimate attendance at Cornell for my masters. As I’m sure he is, and will be, missed by many. I’m a living testament to his impact on the many more generations to come. Rest in paradise! — Elgin Ford Jr. ‘19
Receiving the Frank H.T. Rhodes Exemplary Alumni Service Award in the presence of Frank and Rosa was an amazing experience I will treasure always. Frank was a remarkable leader who exemplified the highest values of Cornell, and whose presence will be greatly missed, but certainly felt for many years to come at the University and beyond. My sincere condolences to Rosa and her family at this sad time. — Laurie Berke-Weiss
I loved Frank Rhodes. I had the pleasure of working with him when I was on the Cornell Board of Trustees. He was a champion for inclusion and equality of women and people of color before those issues became popular. His intellect, class and decorum are qualities sorely missed in today's society of leaders. — Denise Meridith
Frank Rhodes' presence in life was beyond measure, as will his presence be forever. For those of us honored to work with him, our work as administrators, in fact our lives, were fundamentally shaped by our interaction. The stories of his connection with people are legion. Here is just one that epitomizes, to me, his concern for each and every person he met. As President, Frank hosted occasional breakfasts with students. If you knew those events were on his schedule, and you worked with students, you almost could predict a phone call around 9:30 AM. Indeed, as Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid I received such a call, not from his office, but from President Rhodes himself. He wanted to know if it were true that we asked students to identify only one racial/ethnic group when they completed their admissions application. Before I could launch into my detailed description of our new on-line system, and all of bells and whistles (and obvious limitations), he told me that a student at breakfast that morning had told her how that question impacted her. In her words, it was asking her to choose between her father and her mother, as one was African-American (or perhaps Caribbean-American) and one was white. Frank suggested that we would never want to ask a student to make such a choice, would we Susan? Of course, the answer was no and at that moment, without ever being directed to make a change, I knew I would be in touch with Information Technology that day to figure out how to get this rudimentary system to be more inclusive. That one interaction taught me so much. When I offered to be in touch with the student directly, I believe that Frank said he would let her know that we would be addressing her concern, and yes, please be in touch with her, after he responded to her first. This story, now 30+ years old still sits with me as if it were yesterday, as do so many other interactions with President Rhodes. Thank you, Frank, for teaching me so much. Susan — Susan Murphy
I have so many fond memories of my time at Cornell, but 2 distinct instances will stay with me forever - the first which occurred in my first weeks as a Freshman and the second, literally on my final day in Ithaca. As a 17-year old from California and leaving home for the first time to attend college in Upstate New York, I certainly had a lot to adapt to when arriving campus. I was an avid golfer and decided to tryout for the school golf team. On the first day of tryouts, I recall getting to the golf course and practicing some pitch shots on the chipping green, while in the distance, on the other side of the green, a tall, older gentleman smiled at me as he was hitting some shots onto the green as well. About a minute later, I hear the golf coach yell out, "Hey, Shu!" and summon me over to the clubhouse. I was so excited that the coach actually knew my name, I ran over with a big smile on my face and he said to me, "See that man over there? That's Frank Rhodes. So why don't you get the (bleep) off the green and show the man some respect!" Not the first impression I was hoping to make, but that was my first encounter with President Rhodes, who was so humble and unassuming, happy to share the facilities with a student. Needless to say, my first and subsequent encounters with the golf coach were not so pleasant. My second indelible memory is of the Ithaca airport in the summer of '95, just a few days after graduation. Four years had gone by in the blink of an eye and I was heading back to California. Ironically, just after checking in my golf clubs and other bags, I turn around and notice that same tall, older gentleman with a bag on his shoulder standing just a few feet from me. This time, I approached him and said, "President Rhodes. Would you mind taking a picture with me? This was my last year at Cornell. I just graduated and am going home." He gladly obliged and said to me, "We have something in common. It was my last year, too." Frank Rhodes was such a kind and respected man. It was an honor to be a Cornellian under his leadership. — Victor Shu
My deepest of condolences to Dr. Rhodes' family. When I first heard the news on 4 February, I knew that a profoundly important something in my life had, well, changed forever. I will never, never, ever forget each and every Introductory Physical Geology lecture by Dr. Rhodes in the Natural Sciences auditorium at the University of Michigan in Fall, 1970, nearly fifty years ago, when I was fortunate to be a freshman there. This was topped off by his Earth History class the following semester, in what was then the C.C. Little Building, the new home to the Geology Department. I STILL have my notes from both classes. Little did I know that during the first few weeks of that fall I was being taught by a truly remarkable human being, but that changed quickly. Those were the two greatest classroom experiences that I have ever had. Through my undergraduate years and into graduate years, he always remembered who I was; he was always a friend. When I joined the geoscience professoriate in 1980, Dr. Rhodes continued to follow me. He would write or email to congratulate me on a paper, becoming GSA Bulletin Editor, becoming AGU Fellow, becoming GSA President and I would strive to do the same for his enormous number of truly great accomplishments. If every member of the professoriate (and the administrators) would read his Creation of the Future, higher education would be far, far better off! My life is so very much better for having known Dr. Rhodes. The words thank you do not begin to express my emotions. — John Geissman, U Michigan, '73,'76,'80
I had the great fortune of attending Cornell during President Rhodes’ tenure. His commencement speech was the perfect conclusion to four amazing years on campus and the beginning of a lifetime as an alumnus. He was a great inspiration and will always be remembered with fondness and respect. — Gwendolyn (Nilsen) Millesen ’83
Dear Rosa, As so many fellow Cornellians have written, I feel very sad to have lost a very special friend. I hope the outpouring of love for Frank has helped you thru these difficult days. I feel so fortunate to have gotten to know you and Frank during our very special Cornell adventures. I have often spoken of our wonderful trip to New Zealand and the unique events that occurred while we were traveling in the wonderfully friendly country from being welcomed by Sir Edmund Hillary, hearing our alma mater played by a fellow traveler in Dunedin, and meeting traveling Cornellians on the bridge crossing a glacier stream. It is hard to believe that trip was 30 years ago as Frank and I always spoke of that exceptional adventure when I had the chance to see him. Our Galapagos trip was special though you sadly endured a serious injury. Of special long lasting importance, Frank initiated the President's Council of Cornell Women [PCCW] to enhance the environment for female faculty and provide more role models for undergraduate women. I was privileged to be invited to join this distinguished organization by Frank and contribute to programs on campus. I join thousands of others who feel grateful for Frank's selection and tenure as Cornell's ninth president and his amazing accomplishments for the benefit of Cornell and educational programs across the globe. Ruby T Senie HE'57 BSN '75 — Ruby T Senie
They said that HT stood for "Happy Trails." He embodied the optimism and positivity at the unuversity and larger society that has been lost. — Patricia Leary
It has been a privilege to have known such a caring, cultured, and visionary academic as Frank Rhodes. I did a NATO Post-doctoral Fellowship with him at the University College, Swansea, UK in 1964-65 where he was head of the Geology Department and a world-leading specialist on conodont microfossils (earliest vertebrates). Later, I connected with him at paleontological conferences and through many of his publications. I extend my sincere sympathies to Rosa and the family. — Christopher R Barnes
One of the great assignments for an alumni affairs person was staffing FHTR during reunion weekend. He was like a rock star and everywhere he went, alumni wanted to get a picture, a quick hello, or share a story. Moving him from event to event required a deft hand. Along the way, he was so thoughtful to staff. I was driving him from the Statler to Beebe Beach for a class dinner. As we left the Statler a family was walking along the sidewalk between Barton and Statler. Mom and dad were not paying attention to the kids who were following. The kids were tussling... an older brother pushed his younger brother right into the road. Fortunately, I had given them a wide berth... FHTR said, in that sublime English accent, "... that was a wonderful bit of driving." That simple recognition meant the world to me and taught me a valuable lesson. Forever the teacher, he was special in so many ways. — JOHN L WEBSTER
I spent two years in the Department of Geology at University of Swansea from 1966-68 where Frank was Department Head. He was a kind, gifted, and eloquent leader with an extraordinary concern for students and colleagues. My wife and I offer our deepest condolences to Rosa and the Rhodes family. Norman M. Savage Professor Emeritus Department of Earth Sciences University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, 97405, USA — Norman Savage
Dear Rhodes Family, We were so saddened by Frank's death. We thought and hoped he could go on forever. A highlight of any Cornell event we attended was always hearing his wonderful addresses to the assembled audience. He was the finest public speaker we ever heard. — Rosanna and Marshall Frank
We had the pleasure of sitting at our 45th reunion dinner with Frank and Rosa Rhodes in 2014. As always he was charming and inspiring. We were also fortunate that he was Cornell President during our daughters's years (Class of '95) at Cornell. We loved listening to his fabulous voice and eloquent words. The Cornell community has lost a great man. He will be missed! Ingrid and Steve (both Class of '69) — Ingrid and Stephen Tyler
With his warmth, passion and presence, Frank made an immediate impression on me and my parents as well, when I arrived on campus. When they found out that Hunter Rawlings III (The first time!) would be the speaker at graduation, their first thought was "Oh, it won't be Frank Rhodes?" I didn't know until recently just how much his impact went beyond Cornell to the field of higher education as a whole, and even further than that! The world has lost a bright star, but his light continues to shine! In Admiration and Sympathy -- Lee — Lee Hendelman '96, MBA '03
The news of President Rhodes' passing struck me profoundly. As my dear Cornell friends and I mourned the loss of the man who represented much of what we love most about our alma mater, we repeatedly said, "He was our President!" We each, regardless of the amount of interaction we were blessed to have with him, feel so thankful that he was the leader of our University and that he shared his wisdom with us and provided us with an unparalleled example of integrity, grace and service-mindedness that we can all seek to follow in his honor. My sincere condolences go out to Mrs. Rhodes and their entire family. — Caroline (Misciagna) Sussman
Frank Rhodes was still in his first year as president when we arrived on campus in the fall of 1978 as freshmen. Although he gave Cornell 18 years of distinguished service as President, because he was a fellow freshman with us, we the class of 1982 always thought of him as "our president." It was always such a thrill to see him and his wife at our various reunion events and once again hear his distinguished voice and accent as he sang our praises . Thank you for being an inspiration and a landmark for us through our campus years and for decades beyond. — Mark Fernau
My deepest condolences on my the passing for Pres. Frank Rhodes. I have heard his voice in my head for over the last 40 years because at our graduation he left us with the words to the Irish Blessing: May the road rise up to greet you, may the wind always be at your back, may the sun shine warm upon your face, may the rain fall soft upon your fields, and until we meet again, may god hold you in the palm of his hand. Has served me well. — Deborah Arrindell MD MPH JD
I will always remember how warm Frank and Rosa were when I went to their home for brunch as a freshman. It was a wonderful start to my life as a Cornell student and foretold what would turn out to be very inclusive, welcoming and community building experience over my years there. It was also so wonderful to have him visit with our class over a few reunions, again his genuine appreciation and kindness permeating. When you were with Frank, you were always the only person in the room and that feeling persisted with his uncanny ability to remember your name several encounters later. His sincerity, intentionality, generosity of spirit and tremendous vision will be sorely missed. I am so sorry for your loss and send you all positive and healing energy. Loren Rosenzweig-Feingold '93 — Loren Rosenzweig-Feingold
Mrs. Rhodes, One of my most cherished Cornell moments involved you and your husband being part of the swimming class I taught at Helen Newman Hall. What a moment when I realized it was my responsibility to keep the President from drowning. I must not fail! It impressed me then, and now, that both you found time for personal improvement despite what must have been a grueling schedule. President Rhodes was a true leader, and an example to all of us. When you were in his presence, you wanted to be a better person. He will be missed. R.I.P. — Heidi Heasley Ford '87
I graduated in 1977, just before President Rhodes took over. My then girlfriend (now wife) was class of '78 and I went to her graduation. He started his address by saying something like "Welcome to this Lotus Land called Ithaca!" It confirmed for me that he deeply understood the strength and potential of Cornell, and his tenure reflected that. His legacy will carry on, inspiring all who knew him. All those who mourn his passing remember his good and great works. — Charles Ortenberg
I met Pres. Rhodes for the first time soon after his arrival at Cornell in the fall of 1977 at a fall carnival on the Arts Quad when I was an ILR senior. But I got to know him when I was a law student when I would often run by his Cayuga Heights home late at night and he’d be out running or walking his home and we would run or walk together and converse about many issues, including student government as I had been elected as a graduate student representative. During those years he and Rosa also hosted events in their lovely home I was privileged to attend. Pres. Rhodes was especially kind to me by giving me a shout out during his commencement speech at my May 1981 law school graduation. I connected with Pres. Rhodes and Rosa for the last time at the end of May 2017 in Andover, New Hampshire when his granddaughter and my son Ross were both graduating from 12th grade at Proctor Academy; seeing them both again was a real delight! — Stephen E. Kesselman, ILR ‘78, law ‘81
My condolences to the family, of President Frank H. T. Rhodes. Meeting with President Rhodes, was always a pleasure. I recall speaking with him, at Cornell events after my graduation. President Rhodes was always gracious and personable. He had a way of connecting with people, in a genuine manner. The contributions and growth of the University, under President Rhodes' leadership endure. They are lasting tributes, to his legacy. Gary D. Stubbs, The [Notable] Class of '74 — Gary D. Stubbs
I used to manage the Foremost Benefactor Recognition Program. High level donors who were nominated for this honor were invited to campus to see their names on the donor wall by Uris Library followed by a visit to the President's Office. On one occasion, the donor couple brought their dog with them. Visiting the wall was not a problem in this case, but I was concerned about the dog once we got to Day Hall. I had no need to be concerned. The dog entered the Day Hall elevator and the President's office with a degree of familiarity. As we were greeted by President Rhodes, the dog went immediately to the couch and settled in for the visit. We all smiled for the photographer! — Sylvia D. Miller
My deepest condolences to Mrs Rosa Rhodes and family. President Rhodes led the University with such vigour, dignity, passion and clarity. I had the great pleasure of sitting next to him at the head table, at Hotel Ezra Cornell in 1991 when I was Managing Director. At one point, my fork missed my knife and my salad landed in his lap. He quietly called over a waiter and discretely removed the mess in his lap while continuing to speak eloquently and enthusiastically with me. What a gentleman! To this day, he represents all that is best about Cornell and humanity. Rest in Peace. — Liv Gussing Burgess
The impact Frank Rhodes has had on campus has been substantial, both in terms of depth as well as breadth. Among other substantial initiatives he played a formative, integral role in the conception and establishment of The Cornell Tradition, a university-wide, undergraduate recognition program ( President Rhodes was the featured speaker at the 20th celebration event of The Cornell Tradition in 2002 in New York City. Everyone there will always remember his words – spoken emphatically yet with such grace and charm - when he announced the news that Atlantic Philanthropies, via Chuck Feeney, was the anonymous donor behind the founding of the program when he said: “The cloak of anonymity has been revealed!” Thank you, Frank, for all you have done for Cornell. You will be deeply missed. Our hearts go out to Rosa and the entire Rhodes family. — Julie Albertson
Frank Rhodes was an amazing man and truly remarkable University President. He was unflappable, and had an amazing ability to make anyone who met him feel like the most important person Rhodes had ever met. And most of all, he had constant and immense pride in Cornell and Cornellians. He always said we were the luckiest students in the world to be in Ithaca, and he was right. He will be missed. — Philippa Loengard-Almond
I am saddened that I never had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Rhodes in person. But if his generosity in endowing the Rhodes Fellowship is any indication, he was a caring individual, dedicated to the betterment of society. He will be greatly missed. — Ben Tettlebaum
I first met Frank Rhodes in October 1993 as a freshman. He was hosting an appreciation party for students who volunteered during Orientation. I remember how I walked up to him, his eyes locked on to mine, and he "magically" welcomed me by name without ever appearing to have looked at my name tag. I was duly impressed. I met Frank Rhodes again, I believe in April of 2004 as second year MBA at an awards ceremony. This time, without a name tag on, I went up to reintroduce myself but he stopped me short saying "I remember meeting you in 1997..." With all the people he had met and activities he must have been involved in, that simple gesture told me all I ever had to know about the great man that was Frank Rhodes. — Alex Tse