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Cornell University
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Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 1-800-481-1865
Fax: 607-254-1204


Paul Krochmal ’69:
Care for Others, Care for Cornell

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As part of a yearly tradition Paul Krochmal ’69 and his wife Joan would travel from Connecticut to Ithaca for vacation, taking a nostalgic tour of the ever-evolving Cornell campus.

“Am I proud to be a Cornell graduate, proud to be a part of the community? Absolutely!” said Krochmal. “Do I think Cornell has fulfilled its mission? Yes, I do. Do I think Cornell is stunningly beautiful? Yes, I do …  well, except for some of the buildings.”

Architectural tastes aside, Krochmal has been excited to visit Cornell even before he became a Cornellian. He had an elder brother who hosted him on several occasions, once to attend a Ray Charles concert. In late high school he returned for summer sessions. By the time he matriculated, he was “one of the most-oriented freshmen,” he says.

A doctor with a passion for writing, Krochmal was inspired by legendary professors and other Cornellians. In particular, historian Walter LaFeber’s lecture about the adventures of Willard Straight, Class of 1901—an orphan who made his mark as a publisher and foreign diplomat—sparked Krochmal to try his hand at novel writing. He also felt a kinship with novelist Vladimir Nabokov who, like Krochmal’s parents, “came to this country because of problems with his homeland.” Another inspiration was one-time Cornell student Richard Fariña, whose novel Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me was clearly set on the Hill.

As a physician Krochmal was proud of “making patients feel cared for and helping younger doctors, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners find their way.” As a loyal donor to Cornell, he supported the next generation of Cornellians by making a yearly gift to benefit several areas of the university—from scholarships to program funds. He has also created a charitable remainder trust at Cornell, using highly appreciated stocks. This arrangement allowed him to manage taxes and provide for his wife Joan while supporting the areas of Cornell he cares about the most.

Krochmal had a special fondness for the Cornell University Library, and he often recalled making a special trip to the library when a colleague mentioned family papers were archived at Cornell. “So I wrote to the library, and when we went up there they gave us a private room. A gentleman with white gloves got us all the family papers, so that was great.” The kind of alumnus who always wore “a lot of Cornell stuff,” Krochmal enjoyed running into alumni and students wherever he and his wife went—especially when they returned to campus.

Krochmal was also known to dote on his beloved wife. “Are you married?” Krochmal asked this writer. “Have you heard of the words, ‘Yes, Dear’?” He then talked about how he’s not only mastered the phrase, but—because he’s worked with nurses and doctors of different nationalities—he can now say it in 11 different languages.