So long, Sideshow Mel. Later, Lex Luthor. Adios, Andy Bernard. Safe travels, Sue Storm. Only one fictional alumnus remains. Cue the music.
In the tournament final, which saw MIT battle MIT, “Iron Man” Tony Stark narrowly edged out extraterrestrial entrepreneur Ellie Arroway. The Cornell Alumni Association, who felt Stark’s ability to inspire outweighed Arroway’s achievements and his own flaws, made the final call.
“While Cornell is still not convinced either of these two MIT alums offer more than any Cornellian, we have judged this championship match-up objectively. Certainly both characters embody leadership and the ability to inspire others, but only one has something tangible to show for their efforts. While Ellie is a likable person who was ridiculed for her devotion to her craft, she returned from space with nothing more than a couple hours of static. Her tale presents a good enough lesson for the masses, but at the end of the day, your ability to inspire is only as good as the results.
Now enter Mr. Stark. Yes, he’s brash and was born with a silver spoon, but like most historic leaders, he used a moment of humility to transform his perception of the world and become a force for good. The womanizing, drinking, and disregard for authority might be flaws to some, but if you dig through the history books, you’ll find that many iconic leaders shared many of those same traits. Stark does possess a large ego but with that comes the courage to use his skills to defend mankind. His success is well documented and has benefited millions of people. Ms. Arroway, while a trailblazer in her own right, just can’t rally the troops quite like Iron Man.”
When asked which person would most successfully guide others to greatness, supporters of both sides had valid points. The pro-Stark camp cited his well-rounded résumé as reason to give him the nod over Arroway. Plus, being a superhero never hurts either.
“Starks embodies our heritage as MIT alums whose persistence to creativeness, engineering, and versatility would be inclusive of Ellie’s SETI expertise. True, her character is portrayed as a gifted scientist; however, Stark’s quick-fostering of information gives way to the very things Ellie would need to possess and more.” – Anthony
“Tony Stark was one of the founding members of the Avengers, otherwise known as Earth’s mightiest heroes. If THAT doesn’t qualify as greatness, I’m not sure what does.” – Dora
“I just finished the 3rd collection of “Ultimate Comics Spider-Man” in which, among other events, Tony Stark/Iron Man takes Peter Parker/Spider man out for a day of superhero training. I do not know Ellie having a similar example. So by the evidence I’ve seen, Stark.” – Justin
Arroway’s supporters fought back, noting her level-headed personality would be much better suited to guided other to greatness than the self-absorbed, often-inebriated Stark.
“But when it comes to guiding others to greatness, Stark is way too much of a narcissist to win in this head-to-head competition. Ellie Arroway would be the one to inspire people to think about big ideas and do great things. She loves science and loves to think about the big questions in life.” – DeanC
“While I’d rather be in the company of a globe-trotting robot-designing billionaire like Messrs. Stark, he is too self-absorbed and intermittently drunk to guide anyone. Ms. Arroway is equally as arrogant, but her lack of celebrity status may humble her enough to help others out.” – Kamil
“Ellie Arroway, integrity of action in the face of so many doubters.” – Barbara
In the end, Tony Stark himself may have best summed up his victory in his movie Iron Man.
“A wise man once asked, ‘Is it better to be feared or respected?’ I say is it too much to ask for both?”
Due to Stark’s victory, MIT will take ownership of the soon-to-be-constructed Social Media Cup trophy. Cornell must now produce a video that pays homage to both Tony Stark and MIT (and promote the video on the Cornell Alumni Association Facebook page). Stay tuned!
MIT and Cornell have some impressive alumni, both real and imagined. Thank you to everyone who made participated in this tournament and made it a success.