Who coined the phrase Ithaca is gorges?
It is rumored that Howard Cogan did, but the earliest documentation of the phrase was found in an editorial written by Michael Connor.
In the Fall of 1976, I (Bob Vanderbei) was a first year graduate student at Cornell. For Thanksgiving, I drove to Troy NY to spend the holiday weekend with my friends from RPI (my undergraduate college). When I got there, the first question one of my friends asked me was: How do you like Cornell? My response was: "Ithaca is gorgeous!" I did not realize I had made a pun. My friend (I think it was Bill Cocke) laughed. I asked what he was laughing about. He pointed out the pun. When I got back to Ithaca, I used the pun all of the time. In particular, I repeated it often at the college town book store located on the northeast corner of Dryden Rd and College Ave (can't remember the name of the store---it's not there anymore). Around 1979 or 1980, that store started selling "Ithaca is Gorges" t-shirts. I know of no earlier reference and have always assumed that my friend (Bill Cocke) first thought of the pun and that I popularized it on campus. I can't prove this. If anyone has a documentable reference prior to November, 1976, I'd like to hear about it.
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