In the midst of its centennial celebration, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is beginning to establish new traditions. Susan Eckert Lynch, a longtime friend, advisor and foremost benefactor of CALS and Cornell, has broken ground with her endowment of a faculty chair within CALS. Lynch is both the first female in CALS history to endow a professorship and the only person to use her endowment to unite two disciplines.
Her establishment of the Susan Eckert Lynch Professorship in Science and Business will join two of CALS’ highest priorities — business and new life sciences — and will advance research and teaching in the department of applied economics and management.
“At this exciting juncture in the history of Cornell and the college, when both business and the life sciences are emerging as major priorities, this is an inspiring and important gift,” said Susan Henry, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
“This endowment responds to the increasing convergence and provides a great opportunity for the future,” said Michael Riley, CALS associate dean of alumni affairs, development and communications.
Lynch said her desire to bring together these two contrasting yet closely related fields goes hand in hand with the CALS centennial vision.
“The college would benefit from having a new professorship in either of these fields, but it will be especially valuable to have a faculty member who can bridge the two, who can show how important it is to business to have a stake in the life sciences, and how important it is to the people working in the life sciences to involve the business community with the outcomes of their research,” Lynch said.
Riley added, “The centennial gives us the opportunity to celebrate achievements, but also allows us to look forward to the next hundred years. We are very pleased and grateful for this timing.”
CALS is still several months away from appointing a faculty member for the professorship. “We will move as quickly as we can,” Riley said, expressing his eagerness to see the interaction between Lynch and the recipient of the professorship.
“Susan Lynch has set an inspiring example for our alumni and friends … This exceptional gift serves as a model of creative philanthropy and a wonderful demonstration of the impact that one individual, whether man or woman, can have on the advancement of the University’s academic mission,” said Provost Biddy Martin.
Lynch, an alumni of Connecticut College, is a presidential councilor and a friend of the Cornell University Council. She also serves on the advisory councils of CALS and the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art. She and her late husband, Ronald P. Lynch ’58, endowed the CALS deanship during his term as vice chair of the University’s board of trustees. Together the Lynches also funded the Ronald P. and Susan E. Lynch Professorship of Investment Management in the S. C. Johnson Graduate School of Management and the Lynch Fund for Athletics.
In 1994, they were both honored as foremost benefactors of the University. Since her husband’s death in 1996, Lynch has continued to be a supporter of the University, creating the Susan E. Lynch Director’s Discretionary Fund in support of the recent athletics campaign and making a lead gift for expansion of the Johnson Museum.
Lynch and her son Charles R. Lynch ’90 continue to host an annual CALS luncheon in New York City, the annual Lynch-Weiss campus visit which allows alumni and friends of Cornell to renew their connection to the University, and several other Cornell events instituted during her husband’s lifetime.
Archived article by Jessica Liebman
Sun Staff Writer