April 1, 2002

Trustees Choose Members For President Search Team

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The members of the Presidential Search Committee that will nominate Cornell’s next president were announced last Friday.

Harold Tanner ’52, chair of the Board of Trustees, chair-elect Peter C. Meinig ’62 and vice-chair Edwin H. Morgens ’63 made the announcement.

The search committee will nominate a successor to President Hunter R. Rawlings III, who stated his intention to retire from the presidency March 15.

At the March 15 press conference, Meinig said that the Committee would follow a similar design as the last search committee which nominated Rawlings.

“When the announcement was made, Tanner indicated that they were following a model of the 1994 search,” said Henrik N. Dullea ’61, vice president for University relations.

“That produced an announcement the following December. There is no formal push for December [but] for whenever they have the right person,” Dullea added. “A model doesn’t mean precision. It’s a general guideline.”

Meinig announced Morgen’s appointment as the chair of the search committee at the press conference. Morgens also served on the 1994 search committee. Paul Tregurtha, former trustee, chaired that committee, according to Dullea.

Dullea continued that trustee members of this search Committee were selected “carefully” and non-trustee members were selected “equally carefully.”

Tanner, Meinig and Morgens focused on finding a wide distribution of representation from the University, according to Dullea. The committee includes trustees, faculty, alumni, employees, an undergraduate student and a graduate student.

“A lot of people voiced concern that there was only one undergrad but the search committee by nature has to be small,” said Leslie Barkemeyer ’03, student-elected trustee and member of the search committee.

“They were very keen to different constituencies being involved. I think the one is [relatively] sufficient, not necessarily something that peer institutions would consider,” she added.

Many questions about the process which the search committee will follow will remain unanswered until the first organizational meeting. The meeting will be held in the next few weeks. However, a date has yet to be announced.

After that meeting, the committee will release only procedural information, such as that regarding structural planning including the organization of subcommittees.

The committee will not release any information about specific candidates, Dullea said.

“I believe we are allowed the entire year … it’s something that can fill an entire year but I think that everyone wants to be able to be confident in the decision by December,” Barkemeyer said.

“A lot of it will be work over the summer,” she added.

Throughout last week, Morgens contacted members of the committee to invite them to join. Many of the members have expressed their enthusiasm for the search process.

“It’s incredibly exciting. Everyone on there is completely distinguished in their own field,” Barkemeyer said.

“I want to make sure faculty interests and perspectives are presented,” said Prof. Harold Craighead, applied engineering and physics, and a member of the committee. Rawlings’ decision to retire, “was a surprise to me and most everyone. We’re going to try and move along as quickly as possible to make this a smooth transition.”

Trustee members are: Barkemeyer, J. Thomas Clark, Diana M. Daniels, Samuel C. Fleming, Barbara B. Friedman, William E. Fry — assistant dean for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the faculty-elected trustee, Myra M. Hart, Meinig, Rebecca Q. Morgan, Andrew M. Paul, Tanner, Jan Rock Zubrow, the alumni-elected trustee and an employee-elected trustee who will be added in mid-April after election results are confirmed.

Non-trustee members are Patrick M. Carr, grad, Craighead, Prof. Sandra Greene, history, Prof. Ralph Nachman, M.D., medicine and Ingeborg T. Reichenbach, vice president for alumni affairs and development.

Morgens has also announced the appointment of two advisors to the search Committee and its executive secretary. The committee advisors are Sanford I. Weill, trustee emeritus and chair of the Weill Cornell Medical College Board of Overseers and Stephen H. Weiss, trustee and board chair emeritus. Barbara L. Krause, staff, will serve as executive secretary.

Archived article by Laura Rowntree