A Trustee Report
By Jeffrey Berg '79, MEng '80, MBA '81
While I had been highly engaged with Cornell for many years before becoming a member of the Board of Trustees, I've learned more about the University over the past four years than during the previous twenty-six years put together. Cornell is a complex $3 billion enterprise—educating 21,000 students, being guided by 3,000 faculty members, providing jobs for 12,000 staff, and serving more than 255,000 alumni. It is a unique private university with a land-grant mission.
I have been impressed with the quality of the University's administrative staff and academic deans. Together, we have achieved some significant accomplishments during my tenure on the board:
Recruitment of David Skorton as Cornell's twelfth president—One of the key responsibilities of the board is to ensure that the institution is led by an outstanding individual; David is such a person. His prior experience in leading the University of Iowa through both vibrant and challenging financial times will be most helpful to Cornell over the next few years.
Creation of a master land-use plan for the Ithaca campus—This is a seminal work that will guide University decision-making for decades to come. It identifies how and where Cornell should grow over the next thirty to fifty years so the campus retains its natural beauty while providing the facilities it needs to carry out its mission.
Reaffirmation of Cornell's need-blind admissions policy and creation of an enhanced financial aid program—Keeping Cornell accessible to the best students from all over the world, regardless of their family's ability to fund their education, was a founding tenet of the University. Announcements made in January and November 2008 confirmed that Cornell will remain one of the few universities to retain its need-blind admissions program.
Launch of the "Far Above" campaign—The $4 billion capital campaign will provide the financial resources to recruit the next generation of faculty, support undergraduate and graduate student financial aid, and build the facilities that enable the University to educate students in and out of the classroom.
Thank you for providing me with the rewarding opportunity to serve the University as an alumni-elected trustee over the past four years.
A Trustee Report
By Jill Lerner '75, BArch '76
When the alumni chose me to be a trustee, I was thrilled to be the first architect and graduate of AAP elected to this position in fifty years. It was a great honor to be given the trust of so many Cornellians who care for and love the University as I do. Given the ongoing expansion of the physical campus, I felt there was much I could contribute.
I suspect that every new trustee ponders how best to work within this large body of extremely intelligent, hardworking leaders, and how to make a positive difference for Cornell. Through participation on the academic affairs, student life, government relations, and alumni relations committees I was able to promote the goals of my initial nomination statement, with a focus on the arts and humanities, student access, and broadened alumni participation. New roles as a Cornell parent and a faculty member in the AAP/NYC program added to my varied perspectives on the University.
My main focus has been on the Buildings & Properties Committee and the Campus Master Plan Task Force, working to preserve and improve the quality of the campus. As we spent significant dollars on capital improvements I was vocal in support of our commitment to sustainable buildings, infrastructure, design, and landscape that will promote the long-term health of our campus. In the current economic climate, the ongoing challenge will be to continue to make wise choices to ensure that our campus retains its unique quality of unmatched beauty as we advance our mission of education and research.
I was proud to note the significant number of effective women trustees in leadership positions and the valued participation of student and faculty trustees who add a well-respected, unique point of view to every discussion. I can also report that our University has in place a talented financial leadership group with a deep commitment to protecting the endowment and ensuring financial stability, supporting faculty, and maintaining