"Cornell students dream bigger dreams."

--Frank H.T. Rhodes, Cornell University Commencement, May 28, 1995

Monday, September 1, 2014

39. Andrew Lewis Conn

Brooklyn, New York · Arts & Sciences


Tell us about what you're doing with your life.
Since graduating from Cornell in 1995, I returned to Brooklyn and
Photo credit: Nicolas Maloof
got to see the borough of my birth, the Old Country, become magically transformed. I’ve published two novels, 
P (Soft Skull Press, 2003), and, this summer, O, Africa! (Hogarth/Crown). I’ve made my daily bread working in public relations and corporate communications. I married an amazing woman from Scotland, and have gotten the chance to see America and New York through the eyes of another culture. And, four years ago, we had a daughter, Alyth (named after a Scottish town), who is not the world’s least adorable, fun, or remarkable person.

Which Cornell classmates do you keep in touch with? 

Anita King (’95), Bryan Wizemann (’95), Christopher Goffard (’94), David Kartch (’94), Durand Williams (’95), Erica Schoemacher (’94), Gabriella Aratow (’96), Huy Dao (’97), Jaime Villamarin (’94), Jason Lee (’93), Luke Wilcox (’96), Michael Gurton (’97), Philip Kang (’96), Rika Wilcox (’98), Sarah Jensen (’95), Trac Vu (’96), . . . and, er, my sister: Jennifer Conn (’92).

If you could change anything about your Cornell experience, what would it be?

I perhaps would not have been so serious, or self-serious, or quite so hardworking (!). But, then, you’re wired the way you’re wired. (And, as that great Dylan song put it, “I was so much older then/I’m younger than that now.”)

What does being a Cornell alumnus mean to you?

The place, and that time of life, continues to become more magical and idealized in retrospect. (Part of this, I think, is that Cornell looks in many ways like what a Platonic conception of academic life should resemble.) I just love the place, and have a fever dream about being back every three or four months or so. I’m just enormously grateful for having been there, for that time of my life.