New Cornell Dairy ice cream flavor welcomes new president Martha Pollack

When you’re a big university with your very own dairy plant, you can make a special ice cream for every occasion, and Cornell has a new one to celebrate today’s inauguration of Martha E. Pollack. “Martha’s Bits & Bytes” will be scooped up at today’s festivities.

Cornell Alumni Affairs & Development’s Scott Pesner shows off the Martha’s Bits & Bytes t-shirt scoopers are wearing today. Photo courtesy of CALS Marketing and Communications.

The name is “a nod to Pollack’s artificial intelligence research,” says Cornell, and the ice cream itself “is a custard-based French vanilla featuring a banana swirl with soft brownie morsels and white chocolate flecks.”

The name isn’t the only nod to the new president’s computing background. The ice cream scoop in the special flavor’s logo has binary numbers spelling out the Cornell motto, “Any Person, Any Study.”

The new flavor was designed with Pollack’s help, says Cornell Dairy quality manager and academic programs coordinator Deanna Simons. “We put together several ideas with a few different combinations, and we mocked up samples using a tabletop freezer. When she tasted this sample, she loved it. She absolutely loved it.”

Cornell’s tradition of original ice cream flavors for presidential inaugurations dates back to Hunter R. Rawlings III’s installation in 1995, with Inauguration Swirl, a chocolate ice cream with a mocha ribbon.

The Martha’s Bits & Bytes graphic has binary numbers spelling out “Any Person, Any Study.”

President Jeffrey Lehman in 2003 got “Ezra and Andrew’s World View, espresso ice cream with a fudge swirl accentuating flavors from all continents: It had a hint of cinnamon and vanilla, with crushed hazelnuts and praline pecans. The flavor from Antarctica: ice, of course.”

For David Skorton in 2006, the Dairy made “Banana-Berry Skorton, a jazzy chocolate-based ice cream with a banana and raspberry swirl.” The late Elizabeth Garrett’s inauguration in 2015 featured “24 Garrett Swirl ice cream, made of her personal favorite flavors chocolate, caramel and mocha.” And in a salute to Frank H.T. Rhodes, the dairy concocted Rocky Rhodes to celebrate his retirement in 1995.

Cornell says Dunkirk Flavors of Dunkirk, New York created the banana swirl specially for the ice cream, of which Cornell Dairy made 247 3-gallon tubs, 120 pints and six 1.5 gallon tubs, which can feed 12,350 people.

Martha’s Bits & Bytes will be served at today’s Street Fair on the Cornell Arts Quad from 4-5:30pm.

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