search

Gift to Comm department funds research, career exploration

By Krisy Gashler
periodiCALS, Vol. 6, Issue 2, 2016

Inspired by long Cornell ties and the Communication Department’s new state-of-the-art space in Mann Library, John Fraser ’83 and Amy Brown Fraser ’84 are donating $500,000 to Comm, the largest single donation of the department’s fundraising campaign so far.

“I am thrilled knowing Comm majors have an incredible state-of-the-art hub and are centralized to learn, study and engage with professors as well as graduate students. They have an inviting home now, a real think-tank environment.”
-Amy Brown Fraser ’84

A Comm graduate herself, Amy Fraser said the Communication Department renovation in Mann Library is a tremendous improvement for students, faculty and staff.

“When I was a Comm major, the department’s classes were spread out all over the place—we had classes past West Campus. I am thrilled knowing Comm majors have an incredible state-of-the-art hub and are centralized to learn, study and engage with professors as well as graduate students. They have an inviting home now, a real think-tank environment,” she said. 

Department Chair Katherine McComas, Ph.D. ’00, said the Frasers’ gift will support a wide array of research and career opportunities for students, including NYCOMM, the department’s annual two-day career exploration trip to New York City; a new Communication Leaders Speakers Series; graduate student summer fellowships; and undergraduate summer research fellowships. 

“This gift is an investment in the department—the faculty, students and staff that have made our department one of the top-ranked communication programs in the country,” McComas said. “This gift is a vote of confidence in what we’re doing and where we’re aiming to be—a global leader in promoting greater understanding of human communication in a world that is intricately mediated, technologically sophisticated and scientifically informed.”

“It is both humbling and inspiring to be the recipient of such a generous gift,” McComas said.

The Frasers’ Cornell ties go way back: Amy and her sister, Cathlin Brown Wolanske ’88, both graduated from Cornell, and their father did his medical residency at Weill Cornell Medical Center. John is a third-generation Cornellian, and this fall the couple’s son Angus enrolled as a freshman studying engineering.

Amy also serves on the Department of Communication Advisory Board and is a member of the Committee on Alumni Trustee Nominations. John studied history at Cornell and is now managing partner of 3i Debt Management. 

“Cornell is near and dear to our hearts,” Amy said. “We are proud of our deep legacy and of Cornell’s strong commitment to higher education and research.”