Tuesday, 13 October 2015
Endowment Up 10%
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Monday, 04 October 2010


Cornell's Investment Office has announced that the University's long-term investments (LTI) gained 12.6% during the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2010. Thanks to this, the value of the endowment increased to $4.378 billion, a gain of 10.4% over the previous FY, and the value of the LTI (which includes the endowment and two smaller funds) reached $4.432 billion, up 6.7% over the previous FY. While the upward trend is encouraging, the LTI still lags 28% behind its value on June 30, 2008 — prior to the financial crash — when it was $6.138 billion.


Congratulations to the Sun Print E-mail
Monday, 27 September 2010

Last Saturday, the Cornell Daily Sun celebrated its 130th anniversary with a banquet at the Grand Hyatt in New York City. The master of ceremonies was Stan Chess '69, president of the Cornell Daily Sun Alumni Association and organizer of the event. Former editors who spoke included Eve Weinschenker Paul '50, Eric Lichtblau '87, Liz Robbins '92, Dick Brass '73 (who spoke via video link), and Richard Levine '62, the current chairman of the Cornell Alumni Magazine Commitee.

Introducing Levine, Chess said: "Richard Levine served as sports editor and managing editor during four years on the Sun. Except for two years as an Army lieutenant, he has spent his entire adult life in journlaism, the last 44 years with Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal. After graduating, Dick joined the New York Times as a copyboy and then went to Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where he won a Pulitzer Traveling Fellowship. Following a brief stint on the Times foreign desk, he spent a year in Europe and North Africa as a freelance foreign correspondent. He joined the Journal's Washington bureau in 1966. He covered the Johnson White House, served as labor editor, military correspondent with stints in Vietnam, and chief economics writer and front-page Outlook columnist. His reporting was twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. In 1980, Dick was named the first editorial director of a newly established Dow Jones division devoted to interactive electronic publishing. He subsequently ran that division, which developend Factiva and gave birth to wsj.com. He also served as vice president and executive editor of Dow Jones Newswires, which employs some 800 journalists in 90 cities around the world. In his last full-time assignment, he was vice president of Dow Jones for news and staff development. Today, Dick is president of the Dow Jones News Fund, a foundation dedicated to encouraging students to pursue careers in journalism by providing professional training and internships."

To read Dick Levine's speech, click here.











Is Higher Education in Crisis? Print E-mail
Wednesday, 08 September 2010

At a time when the cost of a college education continues to escalate while administrators battle budget woes, the value of higher education is being questioned by many — including some prominent academics. One of the loudest voices is that of Andrew Hacker, who taught at Cornell for 16 years before moving to Queens College. His recent book Higher Education? How Colleges Are Wasting Our Money and Failing Our Kids — And What We Can Do About It, co-authored by Claudia Dreifus, questions many of the most sacred principles of American universities, including the tenure system and the preference for research over teaching. In a recent New York Times review, this book was paired with Mark Taylor’s Crisis on Campus: A Bold Plan for Reforming Our Colleges and Universities, which the reviewer said "is more measured in tone but no less devastating in its assessment of our unsustainable 'education bubble.' "

Another critical view was expressed in the Schumpeter blog of The Economist, which compares today's U.S. universities with the car companies of 50 years ago, when General Motors was hailed as a paragon of industry. Also citing the Hacker and Dreifus book as evidence of the problem, the columnist writes: "America’s commitment to research is one of the glories of its higher-education system. But for how long? The supply of papers that apply gender theory to literary criticism remains ample. But there is evidence of diminishing returns in an area perhaps more vital to the country’s economic dynamism: science and technology." Asserting that American universities have "lost their way," he concludes that bold reforms are needed in their academic and economic models.

Financial Reality Print E-mail
Thursday, 26 August 2010

In his welcome-back message to the campus, President Skorton wrote: "As we implement the changes in organization and process we developed together last year, it’s clear that the worst of the immediate financial crisis is now behind us. By the end of the new academic year we will have a clear path to a balanced budget." That's good news — and many faculty, staff, and students are relieved that the rumors about massive layoffs and radical cuts seem to have abated.

Still, the full effect of the many budgetary changes that have been made, and are still being made, is just beginning to be seen. Some aspects of the changes have been given a positive spin, like the recent Cornell Chronicle story about the response of the Department of Theatre, Film, and Dance to a $1 million budget cut. Others have been less encouraging, like the Daily Sun's account of the impact of reductions in the math department faculty and an accompanying opinion piece that questions whether these cuts run counter to the goals of the recently adopted strategic plan. Arts college dean Peter Lepage immediately fired off a letter, taking strong exception to the Sun's conclusions. Two dozen math professors responded with another letter to the Sun, rebutting Page's assertions.

As the year continues, more will become clear — stay tuned.

Fall Semester 2010 Print E-mail
Thursday, 19 August 2010

Summer is ending in Ithaca. Hordes of Cornell students are descending on the bustling town. Or trying to — with the usual local planning wisdom, construction work is still continuing on routes 96 and 96B, causing traffic tie-ups.

But the students are back. You don't have to go to campus to see that. All you have to do is visit the parking lot at Wegmans. Soon the dorms will be filled and the new students will be contemplating electric sheep. Baaa!

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