David and Pauline Musto P’20, P’23 are Cornell parents from Fairfield County, Connecticut. Their son, Ryan ’20, graduated from the College of Arts and Sciences and their daughter, Meghan ’23, is a current student in the College of Human Ecology. Though not alumni themselves, David and Pauline have been dedicated volunteers for the last six years. They’ve aided new Cornell parents and supported the entire university as Parents Committee members and through the Family Fellows Program.
How did you start your journey as Cornell volunteers?
As our family began its Cornell journey, we came to quickly appreciate the depth and breadth of the institution as well as the warmth and vibrancy of the community. Our children connected instantly with faculty and advisors. As a result, we wanted to engage with other parents, faculty, and administrators to play a part in the community and stay connected with our children. Now that we have some experience at Cornell, we are thrilled to be able to share our learnings with newer parents. We have been participating in new parent calls for the last six years!
What drew your children to Cornell?
Both our children were attracted to Cornell for similar reasons. Each appreciated that Cornell is a major research institution with a world-wide appeal. Cornell offers premier academic programs taught by the finest faculty and supported by a strong administration. Additionally, our children wanted a rich social experience with the opportunity to participate in a variety of extracurricular and club activities in line with their passions and talents. Both were attracted to the diversity of the student population and the “work hard / spread wings” ethos that is shared across the student population. Lastly, they were drawn to Cornell’s focus on impact—where study and research is a means to an important end.
Of the classes that your two children have taken at Cornell, what is one that you would like to take yourself?
Our children have a lot of fun going through the course catalog each semester and thinking about the vast class offerings at Cornell. Our children have very different academic interests, so there are two classes we would love to take.
First, Introduction to the Classical World in 24 Objects, in which each class was a discussion on an object of art history or architecture and the historical contextualization. Our son enjoyed this class, and we think it is such an exciting way to study this subject matter. Next, a sociology class called Health and Social Context, which enabled the class to analyze data from a U.S. city to reveal indicators that could impact health. This class was very powerful, and our daughter learned so much.
What has been a favorite moment for you both as Family Fellows?
We really look forward to the Family Fellow weekends, when we can spend time on campus. We especially enjoy the reception for parents, students, and their faculty guests. This is a great time to meet a faculty member or administrator that your child has invited because they are playing an important role in your child’s Cornell experience. The entire weekend is lovely, but this reception and the interaction with the committed faculty who inspire and guide our children always stands out as the highlight.
What motivates your Cornell philanthropy?
We are so pleased that Cornell chose our children and our children chose Cornell. The school has been an outstanding fit for our family. We believe in Cornell and want to reflect that in our commitment to help all Cornellians make an impact in our world.
Do you have a message for new parents looking to volunteer?
Go for it! Cornell is an extremely welcoming community, but it is a big place. Volunteering is a fantastic way to learn the ropes and to meet fantastic people, some of whom will become lifelong friends.
Written by the Northeast Corridor Alumni Affairs and Development Team. Explore parent volunteer opportunities.