This newsletter is brought to you by Human Resources.
Have a suggestion or lead? Send it in!
Retiree Spotlight: Jane Laclere Doyle
Retiree Spotlight is dedicated to sharing retiree experiences within our community. To share your story, email 

Jane L. Doyle was raised in southern Indiana on a small family farm. She lived in St. Louis from 1981-1984, where she worked as a technician while her husband Jeff completed his postdoc. They moved to Ithaca in 1984 when Jeff accepted a professorship in the Bailey Hortorium (which merged with Plant Biology in about 2000). As well as a professor of Plant Biology, Jeff served as a former Chair of Plant Breeding and Genetics. Jane began working in the Bailey Hortorium in 1984 and published over 25 papers in Plant Molecular Biology in her 30+ years as a research technician. She retired from Cornell in 2015. 

Jane’s novel, Whose Mary Kate, was recently published by Atmosphere Press. It is a love story – but not a typical one! It is set in the fictional Illinois town of Riverdell (loosely based on Jane’s home town of Tell City, Indiana) in post-WWII rural America. The book, which chronicles the lives of three characters, spans several decades and is populated with memories and stories of people Jane knew and knows.  

Jane has other books in the works and one currently out for review. She also writes poetry, short stories, novellas, and music. Some of her hymns, songs, and a Mass are in use in her parish, as are two devotionals (The Stations of the Cross Encounters with Jesus, and Conversions) which have been prayed for several years during Lent.
Donation Opportunity
Child Care Centers in Crisis
COVID-19 has created financial distress for area child care centers, which normally operate within a thin margin. Health and safety guidelines have increased center costs while also reducing revenue (by limiting classroom capacity while staffing numbers must remain the same). Centers are experiencing financial shortfalls of $2,000-$5,000 per month per preschool classroom.

Most Cornell families are keenly aware of the child care shortage in Tompkins and surrounding counties prior to the pandemic. Unfortunately, the pandemic has exacerbated this problem and some centers/programs are at risk of closure if they do not receive relief soon.

The Cornell Academics and Professors Emeriti (CAPE) Association, along with current Cornell staff, faculty, and students and the local Child Development Council (CDC), have launched an Intergenerational Campaign for Child Care Centers.

Coordinated through the CDC, this campaign will provide necessary funds to centers to ensure they remain open during and after the pandemic.

Cornell has long supported the local child care economy and is providing a matching contribution to this campaign, so donors may double their impact.

Learn more about the campaign and encourage those in your networks and personal lives to give. Quality child care is a vital part of our community!
Staying Connected
Cornell Pen Pal Program
Big Red Writes (BRW) is a new Cornell pen pal program for employees, retirees, students, alumni, and K-12th grade children of employees. BRW is designed to help cultivate relationships across constituencies and generations, reduce isolation and loneliness, and help children develop writing and storytelling skills.
Participants can request a pen pal from a specific constituency or will be assigned a pen pal at random. The pen pals can choose to correspond via email or USPS mail. Participants are expected to write to their pen pal a minimum of once per month.

After registering and being matched, a staff member from Work/Life in Human Resources or a BRW program volunteer will introduce you and your pen pal via email. All participants will be added to the BRW e-List, bigredwrites-L to receive updates, conversation prompts, and other resources. 

Please review these participation guidelines prior to registering for this program.

*Note: strict guidelines are in place for pen pals where one or both of the participants are under the age of 18.

Questions? Email  

Co-sponsored by Human Resources, Employee Assembly, and Cornell Retiree Associations
Team RWB Coffeehouse
Team RWB’s mission is to enrich the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity.

Join Team RWB Ithaca in one of their bi-monthly zoom coffeehouses and meet or reconnect with other veterans and veteran supporters from around the Tompkins County area.

The next coffeehouse takes place on Thursday, December 17th from 12:00 - 1:30 pm. Registration is not required; click here to join. Stop in just to say hi or stay the entire time!
Cornell Global Club Mixer (Digital Happy Hour)
Sunday, December 27, 2020 at 11:00 am

Bring your beverage of choice and make friends with Cornellians from around the world! When you participate in this mixer, you’ll join Cornellians across the generations: from recent graduates to those who are now grandparents to Cornellians.
Mingle in small discussion groups centered around Cornell-related themes. Share your favorite spots in Collegetown, reminisce on the festivities of Spring/Slope Day, and learn how Cornell has changed over the decades.
The mixer will use Zoom video chat and split into small breakout rooms, so everyone has a chance to talk and share. Groups will rotate so you can meet many Cornellians throughout the mixer. The video chat will begin a few hours prior to the start of the mixer, to offer technical assistance to attendees who may need help. Join us for a few minutes or a few hours!

Event Questions? Contact Tony Chen.
Cornell Wellbeing Webinars
Home Alone Over Winter Break?
Join us for guided conversation, reflection, and connection.

Two-Part Program
Thursday, December 17, 12:00-1:00 pm
Monday, December 28, 12:00-1:00 pm
Attendance at both is not required

Cornell’s winter break provides an important opportunity for rest and reflection. It can also be an emotional time. For those who live alone, social gathering and travel limitations may impact traditions and create or exacerbate feelings of loneliness and isolation. 

This program is designed to help us support one another.

In the first session, we will explore pre-holiday emotions, if/how we’re planning our time away from work, and ways to get a spectrum of support.

In the second session, held mid-break, we will discuss how our plans (if any) have evolved, how to adapt to our shifting needs, and even enjoy casual conversation and laughter.

Facilitated by Tracey Brant, Assistant Ombudsman and professional certified coach & Michelle Artibee, Director of Workforce Wellbeing, human resources.
Cornell Activities
Cornell Chorus and Glee Club Readings and Carols
Wednesday, December 16, 2020, 7:00 pm
Carrying on a beloved annual tradition, the Cornell University Chorus and Glee Club invite you to join in a musical holiday celebration including singalong carols (featuring the virtually assembled choirs), seasonal poetry readings, and recordings from past Christmas services. As this most unusual year comes to a close, this family-friendly multimedia concert will provide space to rejoice, mourn, and reflect. For access to this one-night-only virtual event, pre-registration on Zoom is required.

For additional holiday music, the Cornell organists have recorded two Midday Music programs for Advent and Christmas. The first, featuring Annette Richards and David Yearsley, is available online now. Part 2 will be released at 12:30 pm on December 16 and will remain available through the end of the month on the Cornell Center for Historical Keyboards web page
Verdant Views: Plants and Stories of the Winter Solstice
Friday, December 18, 2020, 3:00 - 4:00 pm

The Winter Solstice (occurring this year on Monday, December 21 at 8:30 am) is more than just the “official” start of the winter season. Since ancient times, it has been celebrated by cultures around the world as a sacred, festive time. Plants such as oak, holly, ivy, mistletoe, and evergreens have long been a central part of these celebrations.

This event will explore the natural and cultural history of these plants and share some seasonal folklore. Find more information and register here.
CAU Winter Session for Adults
Stimulate your mind this winter by taking live, online courses through Cornell's Adult University. Cozy up to learning new topics through early February via thought-provoking lectures, lively discussions, and interactive breakout sessions. 
You'll take part in an engaging learning experience with small class sizes, one-on-one communication with your instructor, and group discussions with fellow classmates.

Adults: January 9–February 5 - Delve into diverse content with Cornell faculty featuring:
  • Tuesday night webinars on topics such as ancient military strategies, Cornell's role on the forefront of digital technology, immunology research during the global pandemic, and more. The cost for the five 60-minute webinars series is $100 per household. 

  • Synchronous, online educational courses using Zoom Meeting software, which makes attendance effortless, participation easy, and provides simple access to course materials.
Winter Bird Feeding 101 with Project FeederWatch
Did you know that observing birds at your feeders can lead to new scientific discoveries? In this free pre-recorded webinar, Project FeederWatch's Emma Greig and Holly Grant will get you ready to feed birds and contribute to science. The hosts also respond to audience questions about feeders, foods, and the birds that frequent our yards.
Local and Virtual Offerings
Lights on the Lake
Nightly through January 10, 2021, 5:00 - 10:00 pm

Lights on the Lake is a two-mile show on Onondoga Lake in Liverpool, NY, featuring towering holiday displays, larger-than-life Land of Oz, a twinkling fantasy forest, colorful section arches, memorable animated scenes and a fairy tale magic grand finale!

This annual holiday tradition will be held as a drive-thru event this year due to the pandemic. To ensure social distancing, no runners or walkers will be allowed to walk the route but visitors can still get into the holiday spirit from the comfort of their vehicles.

Tickets are priced per carload and must be purchased in advance. Tickets are limited and are sold for a specific date, so buy them ASAP to secure the date you prefer.

Carload Pricing (carload is any vehicle with listed seating capacity of 16 or less):
  • Mondays and Tuesdays - $6
  • Wednesdays and Thursdays - $10
  • Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays - $20
New York Public Library Offerings
The New York Public Library presents a variety of virtual events during December that are available to everyone:
  • Holiday Movie Trivia - December 22nd, 2:00-3:00 pm. Are you a movie buff? Do you love watching holiday movies this time of year? Test your holiday movie knowledge at trivia hour!
  • Virtual Crochet and Conversations - December 22nd, 3:00-4:00 pm. Bring your supplies and engage in virtual conversation and crochet troubleshooting.
  • Cocoa, Cookies, and Poetry – The Night Before Christmas - December 22nd, 7:00 pm. For all ages. Settle down with your cocoa and cookies and explore one of the most iconic poems of the season.
  • Virtual Adult Acting Circle - December 23rd, 3:00 pm. Fans of the dramatic arts are invited to the adult acting circle --improv, cold reads, scene reads, discuss acting methods, and more! 
Fenimore Arts Museum Holiday Tour
Decking the Halls virtual tours are offered via Zoom on Mondays and Tuesdays at 2:00 pm throughout December. Holiday ornaments, cards, music, and photographs are featured as Fenimore explores the history of some of our favorite wintertime traditions. Find answers to questions such as “Where did the legend of Santa Claus originate?” and “Have we always sung the same carols at the holidays?” The tour will be followed by a live Q&A with Kevin Gray, Manager of Arts Education. This tour is offered free of charge, but we recommend a donation of $5 to help us to continue these virtual tours in the future. Reserve your spot today!
Caring for Others
Grieving Together: Ongoing General Support Group
This Hospicare group meets the first and third Wednesday of every month via Zoom. The next meeting is Wednesday, December 16th from 5:30 to 7:00 pm.
This group is for anyone 18 years of age or older grieving a loss, regardless of when the death occurred. 

Registration is required. Please contact Laura Ward at 607-272-0212. Login details will be provided after registration.
Caregiving During the Holidays
Thursday, December 17, 2020, 12:00 - 1:00 pm

For most of us, the holidays will be different this year. For family caregivers, there are extra challenges as we struggle to make the season feel special for loved ones who may be isolated and grieving the loss of the usual traditions.

This holiday season may bring stress, disappointment, and sadness, as well as a heightened risk for spreading the COVID-19 virus. This is especially true for older adults who tend to have underlying health conditions. Caregivers may feel overwhelmed by maintaining traditions while providing care and adhering to safety precautions.

The good news is there's no need to cancel the holidays this year! A holiday is still a holiday no matter where or when it is celebrated. There are lots of ways to help ensure the 2020 holidays still bring comfort and joy. As we gather together for our meeting this Thursday at noon, we’ll review tips and ideas for safely engaging with family and friends during the holidays.

If you are interested in joining us, please email Work/Life for the Zoom link.
Miscellaneous Articles & Resources
Cornell University | 607-255-0388 | |