More than half a century later, Meyer Gross ’58 is elected to Tau Beta Pi
As a fifth-year student in mechanical engineering, Meyer Gross ’58 began his first year at Cornell Law School while in the last year of what was then a five-year undergraduate degree program. He completed 210 credits in the five years. As an undergraduate, he was in the mechanical engineering’s administrative option, which became ORIE. Perhaps because he was already moving towards law, he was not elected to Tau Beta Pi, the national engineering honorary society, at that time.
With his wife Karen, also a lawyer, Gross travelled to Ithaca in March to be initiated into Tau Beta Pi. “I’ve waited nearly sixty years for this,” he said.
Following the initiation ceremony, which was open only to Tau Beta Pi members, he and Karen joined the other members for lunch in the atrium of the Physical Sciences Building. “The ceremony was quite stirring, even for these eyes, which have seen so much over the years,” he said. “I could not get over the Physical Sciences Building. I just knew the space as a walk between Baker and Rockefeller.” At lunch, he told the undergraduates with whom he was sitting what mechanical engineering education was like 60 years ago, and what constituted diversity in the student body.
In his career as a lawyer, Gross, who transferred to Columbia Law School to complete his JD, did not forsake engineering. He served as patent counsel for technical firms involved in instrument systems, aerodynamics, and pharmaceuticals, and obtained important patents relating to bi-axial orientation of plastic sheets, use of Interferon for cancer therapy, automatic focusing cameras, and water-drip irrigation. He also provided intellectual property counsel for such individuals as Billy Joel, The Police, The Village People and Sir Paul McCartney, as well as for numerous foreign companies and international law firms.
Gross has remained loyal to Cornell, serving as co-chair of his 55th reunion and Vice Chairman of the New York – New England region of the Alumni Association, conducting numerous interviews and endowing an undergraduate engineering scholarship and an internship in the Johnson Museum of Art. He is a voting member of the American Institute for Economic Research (an organization that gave him a scholarship as an undergraduate), and a member of the board of the non-profit Classical Saxophone project.