by Donald F. Smith, Cornell University, January 30, 2011
Ninety-five year old Dr. John Murray’s voice quivered as he told me how he was informed of his acceptance at Cornell’s veterinary college in summer 1935. He had traveled to Cornell to meet the dean a couple of months earlier and was awaiting the college’s decision.
Time went on and I didn’t hear anything. I had given up hope of being admitted when, along in July, I saw my Dad coming into the tannery where I was working. He was holding a letter, and I knew right then that this was it—it was either yes or no. He handed me the letter and I looked up in the left-hand corner: NEW YORK STATE VETERINARY COLLEGE. My fingers were trembling as I opened the letter and read those opening lines: 'We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted.' That letter changed my life forever.
Today’s candidates more commonly receive their acceptances by password-secured e-mail. However, for the last few years I was dean, I personally telephoned as many accepted candidates as I could reach during the week assigned for notification. The surprise and joy at the other end of the line was an experience I looked forward to each year.