Vote for the MIT-Cornell Fictional Alumni Face-Off

by Amy Marcott on September 26, 2011

in Alumni Life, Modern Geekhood

The tournament has begun. Which school’s fictitious alumni will come out on top? You decide.

Simply answer the following question:

Which person, if real, has the potential to offer the greatest contribution(s) to society?

Cast your vote three ways:

  • Submit your answer in the comments of this post
  • Respond via the Cornell or MIT Facebook pages
  • Tweet using the hashtag #MITCU

Week 1 showdown for the Cornell-MIT Fictional Alumni Face-off

Need some inspiration? Learn more about Ling Woo and Lex Luthor.

Representatives from the Cornell and MIT Alumni Associations will be looking for posts that are clever, witty, absurd, and downright ridiculous. The more entertaining we find your comment to be, the more likely it will tip the scale in favor of your alma mater.  Voting ends each Friday at 1:00 p.m. ET.

Check out the match-ups (click on image to enlarge). Brackets are updated every Monday.

Cornell-MIT Fictional Alumni Face-Off winner week one

What’s at stake?
The winning school will take ownership of the soon-to-be-constructed Social Media Cup trophy. More importantly, the losing school will be forced to produce a video that pays homage to both the tournament winner and his or her alma mater and promote the video on their own Facebook page.

{ 87 comments… read them below or add one }

Ryan Ko September 26, 2011 at 2:50 pm

lex luthor obviously! How is this even a question?


Amy Marcott September 26, 2011 at 2:57 pm

Take nothing for granted in the Fictional Alumni Face-Off! Most creative response will tip the scales…


Steven M September 26, 2011 at 3:07 pm

Even though I went to High School with Lucy Liu, got to give this one to Luthor. Irritating dragon lady, or the dude that kicked superman’s butt on multiple occasions? C’mon – total no-brainer.


Karen September 26, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Ling Woo is wittier, more feminine and not quite as evil as Lex.
(Why didn’t they put up Claudia, the kid from Doonesbury? Didn’t her fictional character go to MIT after they cheated in the voting?)


Ana September 26, 2011 at 3:20 pm

Hmm, two villains…except not. Woo, often described as a villain, is nothing more than a mean person. Lex Luthor winds hand down. First, he was voted the 8th greatest villain by Wizard on its “100 Greatest Villains of All Time” list. Second, while his main enemy was superman, he’s crossed paths with many superheroes, and he still lives to tell the tale. Unlike Woo, who’s annoyances, are limited in scope to a law firm, Lex Luthor poses a credible threat to the entire world, thus having a much greater impact.


Steven Conforti September 26, 2011 at 3:41 pm

Lex Luther has been PotUS. He’s saved the world (unwilling) a number of times. His impact to society is clearly greater than Ling Woo.


Jack September 26, 2011 at 3:56 pm

If there is one thing I have learned in my 50 years, it is never to vote against a man whose main goal is to murder his arch-enemy and enslave his home planet, as a mere stepping stone to his long-term goal of dominating the entire flipping universe. Plus, Lex has a far sexier hairstyle than Ling Woo, hands down. MIT rocks, and so does Lex Luthor. Go, Beavers!


Pete September 26, 2011 at 6:21 pm

go Ling Woo sinister yet compelling


Jan September 26, 2011 at 7:41 pm

Ling Woo who?

I vote for Lex Luthor.


Monica September 27, 2011 at 9:16 am

She’s kinda my hero…


Steve September 27, 2011 at 10:37 am

I thought Ling went to Michigan?


JohnL September 28, 2011 at 5:45 pm

Evil genius that she is, she has credentials from most major universities.


ed September 27, 2011 at 11:47 am

Lex Luthor brings nothing to the table except some dumb rocks. That’s hardly a contribution. (it must be miserable to come from a school and identify yourself as a Beaver. No wonder the guy turned into a villain with little more creativity than to carry around a green pebble.)

Ling Woo and smart, witty, and has a great butt. Advantage, Woo.


Donna September 27, 2011 at 11:49 am

Lex Luthor, of course! He has so much more power and many more resources at his disposal. And no one is saying whether the contribution to society is positive or negative. I think Lex would have the greater potential to change society.


Chris S September 27, 2011 at 11:59 am

Ling Woo was half of first same-sex kiss I ever witnessed. It was an experience that I found inspiring.


Emily September 27, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Anyone who can kick ass in heels deserves to win! By default, she works twice as hard as Lex!


Dale September 28, 2011 at 4:54 pm

And Ling Woo gives great hair!


Whitney G September 28, 2011 at 4:54 pm

Lex Luthor!


Sam September 28, 2011 at 4:55 pm

Lex. The only person who can beat him is Superman, and I am pretty sure he didn’t go to Cornell!


Mike September 29, 2011 at 10:45 am

Although Christopher Reeve did…


Justin September 28, 2011 at 4:58 pm

Lex has a much larger potential impact in that his personal concern is a global topic: the ability of humans to control their own destiny and the progress of human civilization.

He acts on a national and international level, is a master of getting people with conflicting interests to work together, and is not just a technological innovator, but someone who is able to get those innovations into practical use, under the most demanding of conditions (that is, while having them being interfered with the most powerful solar powered destructive phenomena yet discovered).


Alison September 28, 2011 at 5:00 pm

I’m sure Ling Woo is very impressive, but I think Lex Luthor wins on being a classic supervillain that we love to hate. Wikipedia (for what that’s worth) reports that he’s been around since 1940 – an enduring torment to the superheroes!


Len September 28, 2011 at 5:00 pm

This will be a wipe: MIT is a culturally embedded institution, while Cornell unfortunately is regional (my distant high school used the Cornell football fight song with locally-adapted words to it; no-one had ever heard of Cornell and never worried about it) (which is as much a comment on local culture as on Cornell). After all, MIT has the hero cable-tv repairman/alien killer from “Independence Day” (who spent 8 years at MIT to become a tv repairman).


ace September 28, 2011 at 5:04 pm



Shawn September 28, 2011 at 5:05 pm

Lex Luthor, obvi


Mamta September 28, 2011 at 5:06 pm

Lex Luther because we all know that a little bit of adversity pushes us to be better. No Lex – wimpier Superman.

Also my husband is from Cornell and everyone knows that the wife and MITer is always right.


Michelle September 28, 2011 at 5:09 pm



Kathryn September 28, 2011 at 5:19 pm

Lex Luthor!!!!


BooYaMIT September 28, 2011 at 5:32 pm

This one’s not even fair. Lex Luthor is a criminal genius without superpowers who has stood up to an all-powerful non-human. Lex gets my vote.


BrassRat September 28, 2011 at 5:32 pm

Why the beaver? Because it is nature’s engineer…

Why lex? Because I dont see a woo constructed legion of doom (kresge) on Cornell’s campus.

Where’s the alumni giving woo, where’s the giving?


Stan September 28, 2011 at 5:50 pm

Ling Woo wounds with witty words. One wonders what Woo would do with Lex Luthor’s lethal legacy? Would Woo wow? We won’t learn what Woo would do. Woo went away, while Lex Luthor’s living longer.

Likewise, what wry wisdom would Lex Luther wreak with Ling Woo’s wrenching wit? Would we love Lex less were Luther’s words washed with wicked wit?

Well, listen learned ones, we loudly lament, Lex Luthor’s won.


gary September 28, 2011 at 6:46 pm



wallyb September 28, 2011 at 5:55 pm

“Which…..has the potential to offer the greatest contributions…?”

Clearly Lex. He has created untold inventions and re-invented himself many times over. Just needs a little guidance to re-direct all that effort towards the good.

Woo? OK, she has a nice butt, and excels at projecting sexuality and anger simultaneously. Big deal. Plenty more of that on the red carpet in Hollywood on any given night……


ConcernedAlum September 28, 2011 at 5:55 pm

Is this a joke?
Lex Luthor’s wikipedia page has 10454 words to Ling Woo’s 2196.
Enough said.


Perfessergreen September 28, 2011 at 6:04 pm

Lex hands down, while willing to sacrifice millions of innocents to create new beachfront for real estate development, and no doubt improving negative climate change impacts by increasing solar reflectance with the ensuing nuclear dust clouds, he still had a kind heart to employ henchman Otis and provide a home for Miss Teschmacher, obviously a lady of limited resources. Ecologist, humanitarian, winning!


sarah September 28, 2011 at 6:06 pm



TomS September 28, 2011 at 6:09 pm

From my undergrad years I remember when Lex worked in the basement of Bldg 20 during Christmas Vacation. His folks didn’t want him home, so he was caring for a grad student’s High Voltage Labs experiment over the holidays… that’s how he lost his hair.


KeithP September 28, 2011 at 6:34 pm

Lex Luthor clearly


Demi Moore September 28, 2011 at 6:35 pm

Like for serious? Lex Luthor, no contest.


Robert Bateman September 28, 2011 at 6:43 pm

Lex Luthor’s greatest enemy is Superman and has defeated him on multiple occasions.
Ling Woo…makes fun of…handicap people.

Conclusion: I think America is about sick and tired of Superman’s crap. When your pad is the fortress of solitude with $0 rent, you can give up the reporter position to someone who actually worked hard to earn it. Damn illegal aliens keep taking our jobs and its time we elect someone like Lex to clean up our streets!

Regarding Woo as a contender: Let’s ask Michael J. Fox how he feels…


Robert Bateman September 28, 2011 at 6:57 pm

I would like to see the 7 following for the remaining MIT spots

Bullwinkle J. Moose
Will Hunting
Tony Stark
David Levinson (Independence Day)
Rockhound (Armageddon)
Invisible Woman (Jessica Alba!!)

I would say Howard Wolowitz but I cannot say anything great about him other than astronauts can crap in space more easily.


ErikT September 28, 2011 at 6:58 pm

Sorry Woo – Lex all the way, baby!

This is a contest of style over substance; Woo’s got the hot looks, but, really, what else? She’s an empty suit, suitable for leading large multi-nationals for several years, before bailing on a golden parachute right after it’s come out that she was funnelling funds to her 3rd cousin’s typewriter-repair firm back in Shanghai. Oh, and was sexually harrassing the mailboys.

Lex, on the other hand, is the classic underappreciated geek who really *can* change the world. Sure, that gleaming dome is sexy (I mean, MIT has thing for gleaming domes, after all), and he’s the CEO of a huge multi-national, but remember, he’s been head of it for 40+ YEARS now (no take-it-and-run parachute for him!), and really does care. I mean, you *have* to care to put in all those hours plotting and schemeing world domination – it’s damned hard work, and you can’t just get by on a nice butt or a snarky comment!

Potting world domination really does make the world better – look at Bill Gates. Without him and his evil empire (ahh, I mean, Microsoft), where would Linux be?

So, it’s Lex by a Landslide!


BryanSinger September 28, 2011 at 7:10 pm

Lex Luthor. I’m not even going to bother explaining this obvious win.


Doug Hough September 28, 2011 at 7:13 pm

Lex Luthor is what all MIT students would like to be, if they had the personality.
LL definitely.


Kestrell September 28, 2011 at 8:17 pm

Actually, there are a few of us who would like to be Richard Feynman, if only we had the personality.


RamyK September 28, 2011 at 7:18 pm

Lex hands down. With strictly his brain power he maintains the cosmic balance of good and evil against the man of steel. Arch-nemesis of Superman… for an evil character I can’t think of a more prestigious position… Not to mention that he is hope to evil, balding nerds everywhere of what we to can aspire to achieve. I obviously thought about this way too much.


kusoof September 28, 2011 at 7:44 pm

Armed only with the power of science, Lex Luthor is our only defense against those pesky aliens from the planet Krypton. If you can battle an indestructible alien who boasts the combined powers of other lesser superheroes with your brain, then you must take the vote here. Lex Luthor wins this round.


Angelina September 28, 2011 at 8:13 pm

Lex Luthor, clearly, has more potential to offer the greatest contribution to society:
1) Lux Luthor has an estimated net worth of $10 billion (source: Forbes). 10B could buy a lot of mosquito nets, baby.
2) Building an evil empire has prepared Mr. Luthor better to build an empire for good than writing legal briefs has prepared Ms. Woo to do anything pragmatic.
3) If Woo did happen to do an about-face and DECIDED to help society, she would merely join the hundreds of thousands of other JD’s nursing hidden dreams of using her degree to become one of the world’s 15 human rights lawyers. ;)


Alexx Kay September 28, 2011 at 8:17 pm

The question only supposes that the fictional person is real, not their entire fictional setting. In a world without Superman, Lex Luthor’s genius would be devoted to noble causes, and he would be a great benefactor to humanity. This is not just theory; it is borne out by his treatment of the planet Lexor.


Erica Wolff September 28, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Cornell has alumni connections and outreach all over the globe. Lex has some kiss-ups. Woo all the way.


Todd September 28, 2011 at 8:30 pm

Lex Luthor, without a doubt.


Gaston September 28, 2011 at 9:21 pm

Lex Luthor wins by a large margin. And while we’re here why don’t I just point out that Tony Stark, Gordon Freeman, and Max Cohen are going to win their respective rounds when they inevitably come up.


Leigh September 28, 2011 at 9:37 pm

Lex Luthor MIT!


Greener September 28, 2011 at 10:27 pm

Though I always enjoyed Woo on AM, I have to go with Lex Luthor.

In today’s market it’s more about your depth of knowledge and your ability to bridge multiple disciplines in order to affect change. Unfortunately Ling Woo’s background and professional experience are far too narrow while Lex Luthor has exibited vast knowledge across the spectrum.


KendrickB September 28, 2011 at 11:03 pm

Lex Luthor – no doubt!


Mary Ann McLaughlin September 28, 2011 at 11:13 pm

Lex Luthor has the knowledge and power to affect the world in many ways. Think of what he and Superman could accomplish if Luthor suddenly had a change of heart! \

I vote for Luthor.


BobC September 28, 2011 at 11:18 pm

Lex “World Domination” vs. Evil “Hissy Fit” Ling? No contest. Lex Luthor is a charactor so cool that one of our finest actors played the part. Lucy — definitely eye candy and one of Charlie’s Angels but Lucy is in no danger of winning an Academy Award anytime soon. Winner: Lex Luthor.


AJ September 28, 2011 at 11:21 pm

Lex has been President of the US AND ruler of Australia. How many large countries has Ling taken over?


Kennita Watson September 29, 2011 at 12:02 am

Absolutely Lex Luthor! Clearly he didn’t put out a wide enough call for sidekicks; I know many much less lame people who woulld jump at the job….


Ada September 29, 2011 at 12:19 am

It’s inTUitively obvious: Lex Luthor.


Anita September 29, 2011 at 12:56 am

I was commenting on Ms. Woo’s extensive sociological impact when some secret arm of LexCorp hacked my laptop to aid in controlling the multiverse…


Hufflehobbit September 29, 2011 at 2:26 am

Lex Luthot, duh. One of the few competent supervillains.


Alberto September 29, 2011 at 3:02 am

Absolutely Lex Luthor !


Diego September 29, 2011 at 3:31 am



Michael Liang September 29, 2011 at 5:20 am

In terms of lasting cultural impact, I think multiple generations of Americans will know of Lex Luthor, whereas Ling Woo will be forgotten in the annals of bad media in a few years.

I vote for Luthor.


Mark Nowitzky September 29, 2011 at 6:48 am

I vote for Lex.

I agree with Jan… Ling WHO?

Lex is Rex.


Titanium Man September 29, 2011 at 8:58 am

What’s an Ally McBeal? Sounds like a happy meal for friends and supporters.


David B. September 29, 2011 at 9:41 am

I, for one, welcome our new MIT overlords. Lex gets my vote!


Noelle Steber September 29, 2011 at 10:06 am

I’ve never seen Ally McBeal or read a Superman comic, yet I have heard of Lex Luthor but have never heard of Ling Woo before. Clearly this means that Lex Luthor has had a greater impact on society.

Not to mention that I’ve heard more children state that they want to be a supervillain than those who want to be a mean lawyer. Lawyers don’t have awesome secret lairs.


Jane Doe September 29, 2011 at 11:40 pm

Sure we do. They’re secret.

Still voting for Lex.


Sherrian September 29, 2011 at 10:22 am

Lex Luthor!

Not only is he a leader in the field of supervillainy, he’s obviously responsible for donating an iconic building to the MIT campus.


Debbie Zappen-Corser September 29, 2011 at 10:38 am

Ling may be amusing, but Lex Luthor would totally kick her butt! :)


jph3141 September 29, 2011 at 10:40 am

Lex Luthor: Not only is he a past president, but he is also a genius; an unusual combination. Relieved of the irritation of dealing with Superman, who knows, what inventions, discoveries and insights he might bestow on humanity. Whereas a real Ling Woo, even as embodied by Lucy Liu, would only enliven prime time television on the court TV channel. Of course she would do wonders for their ratings; probably even better than watching the OJ trial.


Scott Luria September 29, 2011 at 12:49 pm

Far Above Cayuga’s Waters
Ling Woo may look cool
But “I Love That Dirty Water”
Charles and Beavers rule!


Charles Hoffman September 29, 2011 at 12:52 pm

Wait a second, Lex Luthor is a fictional character? I’d swear he lived down the hall from me on Jack Florey. Anyway, this round has to go to MIT and Lex Luthor. If this is the best Cornell can do in their lead-off position, I am worried that this will not be much of a competition when MIT brings out its heavy hitters such as Tony Stark. Even Timothy McGee from NCIS would wipe the floor with Ling Woo, even though according to the show, he was only a straight B student (they obviously did not know MIT uses a five point scale for their GPA).


Eric September 29, 2011 at 1:02 pm

Lex Luthor, definitely.


Dar September 29, 2011 at 1:04 pm

How is this even a contest? Lex, of course.


Keith September 29, 2011 at 1:45 pm

In our society hair = power. Think of the millions of dollars spent and made in the hair restoration/wig business and you’ll realize that hair is the ultimate symbol of authority. So, when examining our two contestants, one must weight their follicle ferocity and in doing so, Ling Woo’s gorgeous locks stand tall above the reflecting baldness sported by Luthor.

He may have been President, but he didn’t have the foresight to ALSO be a client.


Jim M. September 29, 2011 at 3:45 pm

Lex of course. All he is trying to do is save humanity from meddling aliens that attempt to stifle human accomplishment under the guise of “saving” people. He’s a genius like Bill Gates, designs machines like Steve Jobs and tries to save the world in his own way like Bono. Not to mention he has his own skyscraper in downtown Metroplis shaped like an “L”. That beats a Lawyer any day.


Charles Hoffman September 29, 2011 at 9:53 pm

That is a cunning Ling. Us Beavers think this round goes to Luthor!


JVW September 29, 2011 at 9:53 pm

Lex Luthor = Gene Hackman = Jimmy Doyle = Little Bill Daggett = Coach Norman Dale = Harry Zimm = Royal Tenenbaum

Ling Woo = Lucy Liu = Princess Pei Pei = Alex Munday = Grace Chin = Viper

It’s Lex Luthor in a walkover.


Anne September 30, 2011 at 12:15 am

There is no Ling Woo action figure.
I rest my case. Lex for the win!


Leslie Hoffman September 30, 2011 at 2:51 am

Lex Luthor: [to Otis] Do you know why the number two hundred is so vitally descriptive to both you and me? It’s your weight and my I.Q.


Leslie Hoffman September 30, 2011 at 2:57 am

Lex Luthor: We all have our little faults. Mine’s in California.


Jeffrey Folinus September 30, 2011 at 1:28 pm

clearly Lex Luthor!!!

someone who builds things vs talks about them….


Alex September 30, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Brains over beauty on this one


Moita October 2, 2011 at 7:44 pm

Look at the actors that played Lex.

Look at the actor that played Woo.

Another shoo in for Lex!


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