March 25, 2002

Search for Successor Underway

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When President Hunter R. Rawlings III recently announced his decision to step down as Cornell’s president, the Board of Trustees began searching for a successor. With Rawlings planning to retire on June 30, 2003, the committee has 15 months to find a president.

Edwin H. Morgens ’63, vice chair of the Board of Trustees, and Chair Harold Tanner ’52 will appoint a search committee.

“[Morgens] is now discussing with a wide range of people at Cornell the makeup of the committee,” said Rawlings in an interview with the Sun last week. “[These include] faculty, students, and administrators.”

According to Chair-Elect Peter C. Meinig ’62 the committee will be formed within a “few days,” with Morgens presiding over the committee.

Although the Board of Trustees has not appointed committee members, the board has a vision of its composition.

“I think that the committee will be made up of primarily trustees — we will have student representation, faculty representation, and employee representation on the committee,” said Meinig, at the March 15 press conference at which Rawlings made his announcement.

The committee will follow the same search process used in 1994, which resulted in the appointment of Rawlings. Both Morgens and Meinig were involved in the 1994 search to replace President Emeritus Frank H.T. Rhodes.

“The process we followed [in 1994] involved open meetings with representatives,” Meinig said at the press conference. “We divided the search committee into groups and groups of us met with students, others of us met with faculty, others of us did some traveling and met with alumni, and I would suspect that [Morgens] would want to do a similar kind of a process.”

The Board of Trustees hopes to incorporate opinions from all aspects of the Cornell community.

“Our intention is to reach out to all of the Cornell constituencies — get input from everyone,” Meinig said, at the press conference.

One of the student-elected trustees expressed her position on student input into the selection of the next president.

“I believe I speak for both Khary [Barnes] and myself when I say that we believe student input is crucial for the selection of our next president,” said Leslie Barkemeyer ’03, student-elected trustee.

Meinig commented on the timing of Rawlings’ announcement in regards to the selection process for the next president of Cornell.

“We are announcing his intended retirement now so we can begin an orderly process of finding a successor. This timing is very consistent with the procedure we followed with choosing Hunter as president,” Meinig said at the press conference.

Currently the Board of Trustees does not have a set timeline for the selection process.

“We started the process at approximately the same time [in 1994] as we’re starting it now and I believe it was