Cornell University

June 4 2008

Friendship encircles major gift by Oxmans to Catherwood Library

At 60th reunion, a 1948 ILR graduate and her husband will be recognized for helping secure the future of an internationally recognized resource

Harriet and Theodore OxmanThere stands Harriet Morel Oxman, ILR class of 1948, and her husband, Theodore Oxman. It is 1993.

Into the ILR reunion reception walks Gordon Law, director of the school's Catherwood Library.

They talk the pleasant talk of people who have never met, but who are happy to exchange snippets with a stranger.

Fifteen years later, at another reception this Friday, the Oxmans and Law talk again, this time about ILR's future.

A major gift from the Oxmans will help secure the Catherwood Library as an internationally recognized resource and as North America's foremost collection for information on the workplace.

In honor of the Oxmans' generosity, the Catherwood Library director position will be named after Harriet Oxman. It will be the third named library directorship in the history of the Cornell University Library.

The Oxmans live in Sarasota, Fla., where Theodore "Ted" Oxman is an options trader and Harriet Oxman volunteers for local organizations.

The Oxmans are flying from Sarasota to Ithaca for Cornell and ILR reunion events this weekend. Beginning at 4 p.m. Friday in the Catherwood Library, they will be honored at a reception and ceremony celebrating their generosity.

Harriet Oxman's winter white Cornell blazer, which fits her as well as it did in 1948, has been tucked in a suitcase since last week.

On the return trip to Florida, the suitcase will also carry a pewter bowl inscribed "With deep appreciation to Harriet and Theodore Oxman, ILR, 2008".

When the bowl was selected by Gordon Law -- whose friendship with the Oxmans has continued since their serendipitous meeting in 1993 -- the sales person paused.

"I knew a Harriet Oxman," said Ken Jupiter of 15 Steps in downtown Ithaca. "She was the principal at my high school. But, it couldn't be the same Harriet Oxman."

Incredibly, yes, it is the same Harriet Oxman.

Jupiter plans to attend the Friday ceremony at which the bowl will be presented to Ted and Harriet Oxman, whose generosity will support the education of ILR students for generations to come.