April 25, 2002

Presidential Search Committee Meets

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Cornell students, faculty and staff will have the opportunity to voice concerns and suggestions to the Presidential Search Committee, which is charged with finding a replacement for President Hunter R. Rawlings III, in several open meetings in the coming weeks.

The meetings were a result of discussion at the first Presidential Search Committee meeting held April 18 in New York City. Also discussed at the meeting were issues of confidentiality and the introduction of the search firm, Isaacson, Miller, according to Edwin H. Morgens ’63, vice chair of the Cornell Board of Trustees and chair of the search committee.

The committee will be assisted in the search by Isaacson, Miller, a Boston, Mass. search firm. The firm will “assist in identifying and recruiting the strongest possible candidates,” Morgens said.

“[The meeting] was primarily for organization and orientation,” Morgens said. “I guided the committee through the components of the task, the process by which we seek input from all constituencies that make up Cornell, the need for complete confidentiality once the candidate reviews have begun, and finally the procedure by which we will narrow the list, select finalists and recruit Cornell’s eleventh president.”

The search committee will hold four separate meetings, each allowing different Cornell constituencies to have input in the search.

“The committee will strive throughout the search, and particularly in the early stage, to ensure that its process is inclusive,” Morgens said in a press release.

The meeting for Cornell students is scheduled for April 30 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in the Hollis E. Cornell Auditorium in Goldwin Smith Hall.

“This will be an opportunity for students to discuss what kind of president they want and also reflect on Hunter’s tenure,” said Leslie C. Barkemeyer ’03, student-elected trustee and undergraduate student representative on the search committee.

“Students will be able to present to the search committee who they want as Cornell’s next president.”

The meeting will be informal with no set agenda, according to Barkemeyer.

“We want to allow as many students as possible to raise questions, concerns and comments,” Barkemeyer added.

A meeting on May 7 in Hollis E. Cornell Auditorium from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. will allow Cornell faculty to provide input. An open meeting on May 8 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Bailey Hall is planned for Cornell staff, while a meeting on May 16 at 5 p.m. in Uris Auditorium is scheduled for all members of the Weill Cornell Medical College and the Graduate School of Medical Sciences.

“The purpose of the open meetings is to solicit input on what attributes the next president should have to lead Cornell through the completion of its previously articulated strategic priorities,” Morgens said.

Morgens also mentioned the need to find an individual who “would be able to bring his or her own vision into this context and to identify any other challenges or opportunities Cornell is facing that need to be part of the incoming president’s priorities for the University.”

After attending the meetings and considering input from the Board of Trustees, the search committee will develop a “case statement.” This statement will “articulate the characteristics Cornell seeks in its next president,” Morgens said. The committee will then begin the confidential process of researching and identifying prospective candidates.

“The committee is impressed by the daunting task of filling the shoes of Hunter Rawlings III. The search will be intense and time consuming in the coming months,” Morgens said. “At the same time, Cornell is at the top of its game right now and its presidency should be viewed as one of the prestige positions in academia. We expect to attract and ultimately recruit an exceptional individual to the job.”

Archived article by Marc Zawel