1941 – 1976 (July 31)
William Kirby Cornell was born on Staten Island, New York, on May 18, 1941, to William Cornell and Mary Kirby, and received baptism at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church there five days later on May 23rd. He received his early education at the Augustinian parish school of Our Lady of Good Counsel and at Augustinian Academy. He entered the novitiate in New Hamburg, New York, on September 9, 1959 and professed simple vows on September 10, 1960. He was solemnly professed on September 10, 1963. After completing his education at Villanova University, Villanova, Pennsylvania, he pursued theological studies at Augustinian College in Washington, D.C., and was ordained to the priesthood on September 9, 1967 at Villanova. He received his M.A. in theology from Augustinian College in 1969, and an M.A. in English from Villanova in 1969. In 1973, he received and M.Ed. from Columbia University.
From 1968 to 1973 Father Cornell served at St. Nicholas of Tolentine High School in the Bronx, New York, where he was an instructor in English, Chairman of the Department of English from 1969 to 1972, Director of Studies and Vice Principal from 1971 to 1973, Advanced Placement Coordinator, and member of the Visitation Committee of the New York Archdiocesan School Board.
In 1973, Father Cornell was assigned to Merrimack College, North Andover, Massachusetts, where he served as Dean of Admissions, Chairman of the Merrimack Scholarship Committee, Institutional Representative on the College Entrance Examination Board and member of the North Andover Town Scholarship Committee.
Father Cornell was stricken with cancer and underwent surgery. He died in his sleep in the morning of July 31, 1976 at Merrimack College. The Funeral Mass was celebrated at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, Staten Island, on August 4, 1976, after which he was buried in his family's plot at St. Peter Cemetery, Staten Island.