Prof. Emeritus Charles Walcott Ph.D. ’59, neurobiology and behavior, will be the University’s next ombudsman, President David Skorton announced on June 13. Skorton’s appointment fills a position vacated by Prof. Emeritus Walter Lynn, who died after a battle with cancer on June 6.
As the University’s ombudsman, Walcott will help members of the Cornell community resolve grievances, guide them through University policies and walk them through conflicts they encounter.
"Charlie Walcott brings to the position of University ombudsman a deep understanding of Cornell and its people, policies and procedures, attained through a long association with our University as a graduate student and faculty member," Skorton said in a press release.
Since Lynn died June 6, members of the Office of the Ombudsman have been continuing to meet with faculty, staff and students. Linda Falkson, associate ombudsman, said that Walcott has already met with members of the office to ensure a smooth transition.
“I’m elated with his background and reputation that he’s been selected,” Falkson said. “He’ll start in his position already knowing the University. He’ll be in a good position when he starts in a couple weeks to begin assisting community members.”
Walcott’s term will begin July 1 and last for two years, though it may be extended for additional terms.
He was selected by Skorton, in conjunction with the University Assembly. Nominations for the position were taken from a committee composed of faculty, staff and students.
Walcott said he is looking forward to taking on the new position.
“It’s a way to stay engaged with the University, which I very much enjoy, and I hope that I can be helpful,” he said.
Like Lynn, his predecessor, Walcott served as dean of faculty during his time at Cornell. Walcott said that this position, in which he helped resolve conflicts and developed a broad perspective of the University, will help him in his new role.
“As dean of faculty, you get to know the administration quite well,” Walcott said. “One job is to help faculty members with a variety of problems, so in a way it has aspects that are quite similar to what the ombudsman does.”
At Cornell, Walcott also served as the director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and director of the neurobiology and behavior department, among other positions.