Richard Stearns '79

Real Estate Broker


Tell us about how your experiences at Cornell influenced your path. How did you come to live in Los Angeles and what you are doing now?

My parents went to Cornell and I spent many occasions there as a kid, growing up in Binghamton, an hour away. It was always an amazingly special place to be, both as a young kid and as a student. I enjoyed the physical awesomeness of the campus and the greater Ithaca area. My friends from Cornell shaped my life, both personally and professionally and also set the stage to meet and marry the love of my life.  I was working at a job in NYC in 1984 and responded to a blind ad in the Wall Street Journal. It led to a job offering at Mattel in Los Angeles so I took it and we moved!

​How did Cornell help prepare you for your post-grad life?

Cornell provided me with life-long relationships and connections. It instilled a confidence and joy in me that has helped me navigate many aspects of my life.​

Tell us a favorite memory of your time at Cornell.

We went up to the apple orchards on Halloween night. There was an old pickup truck with no floor and empty baskets in the back. The key was in the ignition. We took the truck and drove through the orchards and filled the baskets with different kinds of apples. We then drove the truck into Collegetown and brought apples to every house and apartment on the street. We left the truck in front of the Straight and went on our merry way.​

Tell us a favorite memory shared with another Cornell alum in L.A.

My friend John Dowd lived in San Diego. We would visit each other frequently. One weekend it was his birthday and he had a party. We told him we had an emergency and could not make it. He was furious. This was early on in the cellular world and he yelled at us for 2 hours until we finally pulled into his driveway in San Diego and surprised him. ​

What advice would you give, personally and professionally related to your line of work, to Cornell grads looking to come to L.A.?

In real estate, it is all about contacts and connections. You either have them or you make them. If you do not have an angle on making good connections in short order with people who will use or refer you to others, find another business.​