Life at CUP

Passing of Cornell University President Emeritus Frank H.T. Rhodes

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We were saddened to learn of the passing of Cornell University President Emeritus Frank H.T. Rhodes. Rhodes (president of Cornell 1977–1995) was a longtime supporter of Cornell University Press, and he was also a Cornell University Press author of three books, The Creation of the Future: The Role of the American University (2001), Earth: A Tenant’s Manual (2012), and Origins: The Search for Our Prehistoric Past (2016). I served as the manuscript editor for all three books, which means I worked closely with President Rhodes over several months for each project, an experience that left an indelible impression. Through editing and illustration checking, proofreading and indexing, President Rhodes was always gracious and attentive; he reliably gave thanks for each mile marker passed, not just the finish line at the end.

As a writer, President Rhodes displayed that same generosity on the page; his refined prose required little correction. He wrote with reverence about his subject matter, whether that was higher education or geology, his academic home; his writer’s voice was serious but accessible, authoritative but not condescending.

At the start of editorial work on Earth: A Tenant’s Manual in September 2011, I had the occasion of visiting him in his office in Snee Hall to make a manuscript delivery. My daughter, an eager new freshman studying natural resources, met me there after biology class, because President Rhodes said he would be pleased to say hello to the new Cornellian. The delight and interest President Rhodes showed this hopeful student on that day and his polite inquiries thereafter about her Cornell experience said everything about his dedication to learning and to the institution of Cornell: each was sacred, and he was an enduring ambassador to both.

The last we spoke he was writing his next book, which I believe was to be about human responses to natural disasters. I marveled that, even in his nineties, the work went on.

Ange Romeo-Hall, Director of Manuscript Editing and Interim Codirector of Cornell University Press.

Please find the Cornell Chronicle’s obituary, here

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