Aug. 30, 1927 Leonard W. Kephart, Class of 1913, is the first American to scale Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak. He was in Africa on a search for new grasses for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Kephart took four days to reach the peak, slogging through snow-covered gravel the last day. The climb was not entirely without scientific reward, reported the Cornell Alumni News (Nov. 10, 1927). Kephart discovered three new varieties of clover on the expedition.
Aug. 31, 1956 Tsai Ing-wen, LL.M. ‘80, is born in Taiwan. She is the first woman in Taiwan to run for president; the election will be held in early 2012. A moderate who favors conditional economic engagement with China, she has chaired Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party since 2008 and served as Taiwan’s vice premier 2006-07. She also worked closely with Cornellian Lee Teng-hui, Ph.D. ‘68, during his tenure as president of Taiwan (1988-2000).
Sept. 1, 1854 Anna Botsford Comstock, Class of 1885, Cornell’s first female assistant professor, is born. The namesake (with her husband) of Comstock Hall, she earned acclaim for her insect illustrations and was a leader of the nature study movement, which advocated taking students outdoors to study nature. Comstock was one of the first four women admitted to Sigma Xi, a national honor society for the sciences, and is in the National Wildlife Federation Conservation Hall of Fame.
“One of the difficulties of addressing Ebola is that it requires intervening in the way that people care for each other – how they reach out, touch, and help each other. People are contagious when they are symptomatic, when they are in need, when they are turning to their loved ones for help.
The spread of this virus highlights our interconnectedness. As public health officials tell people what is not safe to do, they must also work with community members to develop new traditions that are safe in the face of this epidemic. How can people best care for their loved ones? Ebola is not just about illness or even death, is it about the ethics of living, the ethics of caring for family and community even in the face of danger.
Good healers are skillful in conceiving and promoting therapies that intervene in the dynamics of both biological diseases and human relationships. As we respond to the ongoing humanitarian emergency of Ebola we need to consider the social dimensions of healing.
Healers can be valuable partners in addressing Ebola as historically African traditional therapies have addressed both the physical and the social basis of healing simultaneously.”—Stacey Langwick, professor of medical anthropology at Cornell University and author of “Bodies, Politics, and African Healing,” comments on the recent effort to stem the spread of Ebola in Africa.