The house itself, on Fall Creek Drive near the suspension bridge across the gorge north of central campus, has a very cool Cornell connection. It was built just over 100 years ago for David Fletcher Hoy, himself an alum and, at that point, the University Registrar. If you've heard of him, it's almost certainly because he was immortalized in the Cornell fight song, "Give My Regards to Davy."
Sara is only the house's third owner; Davy's widow left it to the University, and they sold it to Sara. It's in fantastic shape, since she's done a lot of renovating recently, and there's some fantastic art on the walls. It includes a neat painting of the Battle of Trafalgar (where Admiral Nelson died), old maps of Cornell, war effort posters including a vintage French WWII poster, and some Cunard memorabilia. (Yes, she was on Queen Mary II's inaugural voyage!)
The party itself was quite lavish, too. She hired caterers (the folks who run the food operations at Cornell's Kosher Dining Hall) and had loads of food, from chips and fresh dips to a carving station. With 120 or so attendees (maybe as many as 150) she must've spent a fortune.
I hadn't recognized her name when we were talking about her at meetings, but I've known her for years, it turns out. She's a lady I've chatted with at JJ's Cafe dozens of times over the last dozen years.
After the alumni reception, I went to check out Laura and Jim's new house on South Hill. Very nice place! They're renting it for a song.