Legendary Dr. Heimlich will visit Cornell and conduct the band this weekend

Dr. Henry Heimlich, who at age 96 just used the Heimlich Maneuver for the first time in his life to save someone, will be in Ithaca this weekend for his 75th Cornell Reunion. He’ll be conducting the Big Red Band on Saturday, according to Cornell.

Dr. Henry Heimlich. Photo courtesy of Cornell.

Dr. Henry Heimlich. Photo courtesy of Cornell.

Dr. Heimlich is a Cornell alum from the class of 1941, and a physician who came up with the Heimlich Maneuver as a way of rescuing people with blocked airways. Last month, he had occasion to use the technique for the first time to save a woman who was choking at dinner at his assisted-living community in Cincinnati.

“I knew about all the lives my maneuver has saved over the years and I have demonstrated it so many times but here, for the first time, was someone sitting right next to me who was about to die,” he said after the incident in Ohio. “I did it, and a piece of food with some bone in it flew out of her mouth.”

Back in 1939, Dr. Heimlich became Cornell’s drum major. It’s his 75th Reunion weekend, and while he’s on campus celebrating, he’ll conduct the Big Red Band on Bailey Plaza after the State of the University address in Bailey Hall. Band organizers estimate the concert will be at about 11:20-11:30am on Saturday, and it will be livestreamed on the Cornell Alumni Association page on Facebook.

Cornell says they expect this weekend’s Reunion attendance “will likely approach last year’s record attendance of nearly 7,000 participants,” and that the class of 1991 may break the class of 1959’s attendance record for a 25th reunion that has stood for 32 years.

According to Cornell’s Lisa Bushlow, “among those attending this year are Dr. Samuel Bender ’41, who turned 100 on March 10, celebrating his 75th Vet School reunion, and professor James White ’39, who will turn 100 in October, celebrating his 77th reunion.”

More information about Cornell Reunion is available at alumni.cornell.edu.

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