KAREN KEATING: I'm Karen Rupert Keating, class of 1976 from the College of Arts and Sciences at Cornell. I'm a managing director at JP Morgan. And I have been there my whole career.
Cornell was an attractive place for me to go as a freshman because I graduated from a high school of 4,000 people. My graduating class was 900. And with such a large school, I wanted to go to someplace that was larger for my undergraduate degree. And there were relatively few schools that were even larger than 4,000.
Yes, I had Cornell in my family background. My father had gone there as did my sister. That was actually not any attraction for me. Instead, I wanted to go my own way. But I made my way back to Cornell because of the diversity of the academic offerings, the diversity of the student body, a beautiful campus. And I really felt like I knew that and in fact could see myself there for four years. And I really found a home here.
My undergraduate years were some of the happiest times that I've had. I really feel like I grew up here. My involvement with Cornell has really never stopped since I set foot in Ithaca in 1972. I came from a family of people who really gave back to the school. And so I had a very good role model in my father. But I have been a consistent class officer ever since I got out of here. And that evolved into other activities that I've so enjoyed.
I think the President's Council of Cornell Women serves a very, very important role in the whole Cornell panoply of activities. And that is Cornell is a coeducational school since the beginning of its history. And yet, women tend to connect well with each other.
And PCCW has been a wonderful organization to identify women who previously were not as involved in Cornell activities, connect them together, and to really do good for Cornell. And so the whole purpose of Cornell's President's Council of Cornell Women is to make sure that we reinvolve alumnae to help Cornell.
And so I've found very much of a voice in that group. I was the co-chair of the 10th anniversary PCCW celebration, which was a very large, very visible event that we really included and welcomed the community to participate in. It celebrated the coeducation of Cornell. And it highlighted women. It was a wonderful event.
I think Cornell is one of the most wonderful places to get an undergraduate education because of the variety of academic offerings, because of the variety of schools that we have on campus. And I like to say that my Cornell education really prepared me for the real world. It was a terrific way to really understand what a community can be if I contribute to it. And as I said, it was a real good education about the real world.
Cornell is a great place for women to get a strong academic background. And we have certainly made improvements over the recent past around attracting women faculty. There are numerous senior administrators who are female. And I think Cornell's done a very good job from a top administrative standpoint to focus on ensuring that we have a more diverse workforce.
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PCCW member Karen Rupert Keating '76 reflects on how she chose Cornell, her memories of the university, and how Cornell has shaped her life both personally and professionally.
The President's Council of Cornell Women is a group of highly accomplished alumnae working to enhance the involvement of women students, faculty, staff, and alumnae as leaders within Cornell University and its many communities.