Donors recognized for new bleacher seating
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Rams - Mon, Oct. 9, 2017

MOUNT VERNON – Longtime Mount Vernon resident Fred Burke provided the lead gift for the purchase of new bleacher seating inside Cornell's Small Multi-Sport Center, replacing the original wood bleachers that were installed in 1953.

Burke graduated from Cornell in 1970 and served as Cornell's head women's tennis coach for 28 years from 1979-2007, earning Conference Coach of the Year honors three times. He is the program's winningest tennis coach, compiling 280 career victories while leading the Rams to four conference team championships. Burke has assisted with coaching numerous athletic teams on campus and in Mount Vernon, and is an active Cornell Rams and Mount Vernon Mustangs fan.

"I knew the bleachers needed replacing and were getting difficult to climb for some of my friends. It became clear the college needed somebody to step forward with a larger donation to make it happen," said Burke. "I think everyone should give what they're able, financially or through volunteering, to the Cornell and Mount Vernon communities."

Also making significant contributions to the gymnasium improvement project were Emeritus Professor of Chemistry Truman Jordan and Mount Vernon Bank & Trust. Jordan, also a longtime Mount Vernon resident, taught chemistry at Cornell from 1966-2002. Jordan has a passion for volleyball, which stems from his three daughters – Jenny, Jackie, and Joy – playing volleyball for Mount Vernon High School. Joy went on to play at Indiana University. Jordan has volunteered as a line judge and scorer, and is one of Cornell volleyball's biggest fans.

Cornell's athletic department held a short ceremony recognizing the key contributors for this project prior to the Oct. 3 home volleyball match. Head volleyball coach Jeff Meeker presented stadium seats to Burke and Jordan.

"We are extremely grateful to Fred, Truman, and Mount Vernon Bank for their generous gifts that enabled us to update our gymnasium. The new seating will significantly enhance the experience for our fans," said Athletic Director Keith Hackett.