Building on Strength, Stronger in All Dimensions
Building on Strength
By Cheryl Parks Francis '76
It has been a privilege to serve on Cornell's Board of Trustees. In my broad and varied career, I have never experienced an institution as rich, diverse, and stimulating as Cornell. During my time on the Board, I have been part of the oversight process for physical properties, finance (as vice chair of the audit committee), student affairs, alumni affairs, and fundraising (as national Tower Club co-chair with my husband, Zed). Based on this up-close experience with Cornell and its leadership, I have a few observations.
First, you can be exceedingly proud of your University. Cornell faculty, researchers, students, alumni, and friends are changing our world. The University truly has defined itself as "the land-grant university to the world," taking the learning and discoveries of great minds and putting them to work across the globe. This is true in the sciences, the arts, economics, and medicine. The University does more than you can imagine.
Second, you can trust the steward-ship of David Skorton, our president, and the team of professionals who are directing the future of the University. They are committed, thoughtful, and action-oriented. They put students and academic progress first—and bring a practical understanding of what it takes to get things done. They are greatly assisted in these responsibilities by your Board of Trustees. They volunteer time, talent, and treasure in a way that is "far above. . . ." This has been my delight as an alumni-elected trustee: to be able to work with the dedicated, accomplished Cornell alumni on your Board, led by Chairman Peter Meinig '61, the most tireless and effective (and unpaid!) member of Cornell's leadership.
Third, Cornell can improve. During my tenure, I have had the good fortune of being a trustee while my two sons attended Cornell. This has allowed me to see the University from a variety of perspectives. Because value is often delivered in the details, I know that Cornell can do better in the way we interface with students, parents, alumni, and faculty. The University agrees and is focused on progress and fair treatment for all.
Being part of a strong, positive force in the academic world, within an institution that I love, has been a tremendous privilege. Thank you for giving me this opportunity.
Stronger in All Dimensions
By Robert Huret '65
It is an honor to serve as a trustee, particularly one elected by alumni. Perhaps the most important of a trustee's fiduciary responsibilities is electing the President of the University. During my tenure, this occurred twice, with the election of Interim President Hunter Rawlings in 2005 and of President David Skorton in 2006. I have also been privileged to serve on several committees, including academic affairs, which reviews and approves the provost's decisions on faculty tenure. I have also served on the audit committee, which oversees financial controls and risk management as well as approves the University's financial reports. I believe that in all dimensions the University has never been stronger.
In addition to these responsibilities, however, much of a trustee's activity falls under the heading of advice. We are fortunate to have a strong administrative team, and through Board meetings, committee meetings, and casual conversation we are able to exchange ideas on how to achieve our objective of being the best research university in the world for undergraduate education.
One of my passions in becoming an alumni-elected trustee was to expand the University's contact with alumni and provide them with education, information, and networking long after they have left the Hill. In the past four years these connections have grown, particularly through the Internet. The expansion of CyberTower and the launch of CornellCast and eClips videos are harbingers of exciting future developments. In New York City and Northern California we have been developing successful alumni programs for ongoing education and networking. In my travels I've found that wherever I go there are always alumni passionately interested in the University.
Finally, we have successfully launched "Far Above… The Campaign for Cornell," which will enable us to recruit the best faculty, enhance our financial aid programs, and improve our facilities, bringing us closer to Ezra's vision: "Any person … any study."