"Cornell students dream bigger dreams."

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

Monday, October 6, 2014

34. Leslie Nicholson

Toronto, Canada · Arts and Sciences

Name at Cornell

Leslie Davis


Tell us about what you're doing with your life.

I live in Toronto with my husband and three daughters.  We moved here ten years ago from New York , and now I cannot imagine living anywhere else.  Canadians often ask me how I manage the winters when they find out I am originally from Atlanta and I tell them that four years in Ithaca more than prepared me for this!

 After my third child was born, I chose to step down from full time work in financial services, and accepted the opportunity to become a partner in a small giftware company, Signature Keepsakes.  The majority of our customers are brides and grooms.  Most of the brides are lovely, but our customer service department could tell you stories about some real life Bridezillas out there!  In my free time, I ski with my family, jog with friends, and volunteer as a board member of a children's charity.

What was your favorite class at Cornell, or the one you found the most useful?

The class that I enjoyed the most at Cornell was Close Relationships Across the Lifespan (Professor Cindy Hazan, Human Ecology).  Professor Hazan's teachings and research still resonate as my relationships mature with Cornell friends, with my husband and children, and with my parents.  The most useful classes turned out to be French.  Who knew that I would move to Canada and my kids would learn French from age five?  My seven year old is already correcting my pronunciation!

What is your favorite memory of your time at Cornell?

Of my many memorable Cornell experiences, ones that stand out are Fun in the Sun on the Arts Quad each fall, spending the summer at Cornell in '93, semester abroad in Paris, and of course wines class.  A rite of passage for Cornell students, it felt like a long, long wait before I was able to take wines in the spring of my senior year.

What advice would you give to a student starting at Cornell this year?

Since stepping onto campus freshman year, I have been in awe of the intelligence and drive of our Cornell classmates.  I would want to tell the incoming class of students that they will be surrounded by the most impressive group of people they may ever meet, and to let themselves be inspired by those who surround them.