January 26, 2004

Trustees Approve Tuition Increases

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Last weekend at the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, the Board of Trustees met in a joint session with the Weill Cornell Medical College Board of Overseers in the morning, followed by a separate closed session in the afternoon.

At the afternoon meeting, the Board approved various tuition increases. The endowed college tuition will increase by 4.8 percent, from $28,630 to $30,000. If the proposed increases are approved, the contract colleges will increase by 9.4 percent for state residents who enroll in the fall, 5.3 percent for continuing non-residents, 10.1 percent for third and fourth year students and 10 percent for entering non-residents. The increases for the contract colleges are still pending approval by the SUNY Trustees.

Commenting on the tuition increases, Provost Biddy Martin said, “We continue to try to keep tuition increases as low as possible by employing a number of strategies, including setting different levels of increase for new and continuing students. As always, we will adjust our institutional student financial-aid allocations to assist students and families with financial need.”

Along with the undergraduate colleges, the graduate schools also will have impending tuition increases.

The public meeting included reports by Chair of the Board of Overseers Sanford Weill ’55, President Jeffrey S. Lehman ’77 and Dr. Antonio Grotto, dean of Weill Cornell Medical College as well as highlights of research done at the medical school.

Weill’s presentation highlighted the new Weill Cornell Medical College in Doha, Qatar and the progress of the pre-med class currently studying there. His report also highlighted work being done in Tanzania by the leadership of the Weill Cornell Medical College in conjunction with the Bugando University College of Health Sciences.

Following the report made by Weill, Lehman took to the podium and highlighted many examples of the Ithaca campus and the New York campus working together in collaborative research and other projects.

“We are working together to overcome the challenges that distance makes,” Lehman said. He added that currently there are about 75 faculty members working collaboratively across the campuses. He highlighted interactions in the areas of nanobiotechnology, computational biomedicine and gynecology. He also discussed a joint degree program between the Johnson School of Business and the Weill Cornell Medical School, which offers an MD-MBA degree.

“I am very excited by the progress made so far and the progress yet to come,” Lehman said.

President Lehman’s report was followed by a presentation by Grotto and members of the faculty.

Grotto presented the medical college’s strategic plans involving faculty recruitment, which brought 23 new faculty to the college, and upgrades to the facilities, including housing in New York City for faculty members, which remains a critical and challenging issue.

The second strategic plan he presented covered the area of clinical care, where there is a new campaign for an improved patient experience at the medical college’s facilities.

“We have challenges but a great deal of enthusiasm,” Grotto concluded.

The remaining portion of the medical school’s report contained presentation by various research groups from the college.

The first highlighted the collaboration spoken about earlier by President Lehman. Dr. Martin Prince, professor of radiology, teamed up with Professor Ramin Zabih of the Cornell Computer Science Department.

Zabih, while on sabbatical at the medical college, created computer techniques for analyzing images made by magnetic resonance imaging. He created a program which would take over the human element in creating an MRI image.

The next group of presentations highlighted areas of research in the areas of reproductive health and pediatrics. Presentations made by Dr. Zev Rosenwaks and Dr. Lucinda Veeck, who was responsible for the first in vitro fertilization birth in the United States, highlighted further research into this area. New techniques in ovary transplantation and sperm retrieval were discussed.

In the area of pediatrics, a possible cure for the rare but fatal Batten disease was discussed and involved gene therapy using viruses as vectors to insert the missing genes into the proper cells.

The meeting concluded with a video montage of much of the media coverage of the medical college over the last year. The final scene showed David Letterman presenting his dermatologist on The Late Show, who happened to be a member of the Weill-Cornell team.

Archived article by Ted Van Loan