May 3, 2006

Moo over Mann: Cornellia tops off newly renovated library roof

The cow jumped over the Mann on April 26, minus little dogs or dishes and spoons to behold the spectacle.

The iconic fiberglass cow Cornellia, on loan from Cornell's Department of Food Science, was the centerpiece of a "topping off" celebration that marked the placement of the highest roof beam of the renovated, original Mann Library building.

In a traditional topping-off ceremony, an evergreen is hoisted to the highest point of a construction project for good luck, prosperity and to celebrate the project's safe construction. Instead, Cornellia was hoisted wearing an evergreen garland (and a scarf from the Department of Textiles and Apparel).

The weather was beautiful, and about 150 people, from the College of Human Ecology, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), Mann Library and the Department of Plant Biology watched the hoisting. "Cornellia looked elegant, she looked beautiful," said Eveline Ferretti, special projects administrator for Mann.

A steel beam was signed by students, faculty and staff and also was hoisted during the ceremony.

Although Cornellia only weighs in at about 30 pounds, safely hoisting Cornellia via a crane was tricky enough that experts from the Department of Animal Science were on hand to help.

Cornellia even had her own handler: Vincent Nykiel '76, general manager of dairy operations and the pilot plant in the Department of Food Science.

The event featured light refreshments (chicken wings, sushi, ice cream and root beer) and remarks by Kay Obendorf, Human Ecology associate dean for research; Bill Fry, CALS senior associate dean; Bill Crepet, chair of the Department of Plant Biology; Mann Library Director Janet McCue; Beyhan Karahan, principal with the architectural firm Beyhan Karahan and Associates; and Chris Marcella, design director with the SUNY Construction Fund.

Renovations to the inside of the original Mann Library building should be complete by summer 2007, Ferretti said, with the building reopening that fall.