Henry “Hank” Bartels ’48, a Presidential Councillor and generous supporter of the university, passed away on January 16, 2015 at age 92. With his wife, Nancy ’48, he established the Henry E. and Nancy Horton Bartels World Affairs Fellowship in 1984 to bring international world leaders to campus to broaden undergraduates’ knowledge of work affairs. Among Cornell’s most innovative leaders, Hank and Nancy were honored as Foremost Benefactors of Cornell in 1987. Hank will be missed by his many friends at Cornell.
A strong belief that “undergraduate students are the core of the university” has motivated Hank and Nancy to support a broad range of Cornell programs that directly benefit undergraduates through scholarships and endowed funds for engineering; student and academic services; athletics and physical education; the Cornell Lab of Ornithology; the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art; Cornell Plantations; Cornell’s Shoals Marine Laboratory; the Cornell University Library; and the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies. Their lifelong love of athletics and physical fitness inspired them to make a major gift to Cornell athletics, and Bartels Hall was named in their honor.
Hank began his education at Rutgers University in 1941 and left in 1943 to become a naval aviator, flying bombers during World War II (every five years for 50 years, the Bartels have pledged a racing shell to Cornell rowing, with each shell honoring a fellow Class of ’48 veteran). He completed his degree in industrial engineering at Cornell in 1948. After a 37-year career in metalworking manufacturing, he retired as vice president of Insilco Corp. and president of an Insilco subsidiary. In retirement, he and Nancy continued their lifelong interest in education and philanthropy, supporting such organizations as Historic Deerfield and other educational establishments in their local community, in addition to their exceptional support of Cornell.
Hank and Nancy have two sons, Philip and Kenneth. Phil Bartels, a Big Red swimmer, graduated from Cornell in 1971 and earned a JD degree from the University of Chicago. He is a partner in the law firm of Shipman & Goodwin LLP. Phil has served as a member of the Cornell University Council and as vice chair of its administrative board. In addition, Phil is chair of the University of New Haven Board of Governors, and he serves on the boards of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Paleontological Research Institution. Ken Bartels graduated from Harvard University in 1973 and earned his MBA degree from Harvard Business School. He is president of Paxton Properties in addition to being president, treasurer, and a director of the Sabre Foundation. Ken serves on numerous boards and is a trustee of Wellesley College. Hank and Nancy also have four grandchildren, including Katie Bartels ’06 and Christopher Bartels ’09.