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Connell Rae '20

Connell is an ROTC cadet leader, athlete and more

One of two Class of 1964 JFK Memorial Award winners for 2020 is Connell Rae, an Applied Economics and Management major in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. An ROTC student, he was awarded the Distinguished Military Graduate and Superior Cadet Awards and is an inductee in Scabbard and Blade. Before starting at Cornell, he attended the Morris County NJ Fire Academy and worked as a volunteer firefighter for the Millington Fire Department, where he served as Captain of firefighters under age 18.

As an Army ROTC Cadet, Connell ranks first in his class and tenth in the nation, served as a military ambassador to the Peruvian Army, and, as Battalion Commander at Cornell, mentors younger cadets.


Receiving the award from Cynthia Wolloch, JFK Memorial Award chair

Connell’s passion is veterans’ rights and, in particular, veterans’ mental health. He has found that, despite the billions of dollars expended on the VA Healthcare system, veterans often find themselves bereft of assistance and having to fend for themselves as they struggle with the aftermath of their service.

As he transitions to military service after graduation, he will work to actively combat addiction, train soldiers and veterans in the use of NARCAN, and connect them with resources nationwide.


Chatting with alumni leaders at the JFK Award Reception

Besides his ROTC work, Connell is a student athlete, member of the All-Academic Collegiate Sprint Football League, and winner of the Rick Casselman Coaches Award. Connell’s academic credentials match his service record, as he maintains a 3.9 average and served as a Teaching Assistant in the rigorous undergraduate Dyson School.

Watch this video as Connors describes his life-saving blood marrow donation.