May 23, 2007

Eaton ’61, Ettinger ’62 to Serve as Cornell Trustees

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Originally published May 3
Two new alumni have been elected to serve on the Board of Trustees, a position they will hold for the next four years. William V. Eaton ’61, a graduate of the Hotel School, and Stephen J. Ettinger ’62, DVM ’64 were nominated and elected by other alumni based on their dedication to Cornell.
Ettinger is a New York City native currently living in Los Angeles, where he is a chief medical officer at the veterinary group Echo Healthcare.
“The veterinary profession is strongly supported by much of the marvelous work being done at Cornell,” said Ettinger. “I really look to move Cornell forward with no personal agenda; it is a great opportunity to help a school that has done so much for me, growing up, maturing knowing the liberal arts as well as the [sciences]. It is a leading University and I want to do what I can to keep Cornell where it is as one of the best schools nationwide,” he said.Becoming a trustee is another step in Ettinger’s continued involvement in Cornell programs. He has served on the Veterinary Medicine Advisory Council and the Cornell University council, as well as helped provide scholarships to students. He hopes that helping students now will foster in them the same desire he has to stay involved in Cornell after graduation.
“When I go back and talk to students [who have received scholarships], there is one thing I want to tell them. I believe each and every one of us has a need to repay these scholarships by giving back to Cornell. Serving on the Board of Trustees is my way of doing that, and I hope we are able to create loyalty in students that makes them want to come back and repay those scholarships,” said Ettinger.
The issue of scholarships was also a large part of Eaton’s desire to be on the Board of Trustees and will be a key element in both trustees’ terms in office as they coincide with the multi-billion dollar “Far Above: The Campaign for Cornell” fundraising effort, a portion of which will be dedicated to student financial aid.
“I want to increase the understanding that students being able to afford Cornell is driven by scholarships, in order to maintain our University’s status it takes a lot of money, and getting endowed scholarships in place is key because it allows other money to be used for things like getting the best faculty,” said Eaton. “Setting up a program for international student scholarships and graduate students who have virtually no access to scholarships [is important because] the burden will just keep getting greater if we don’t do something about it”
Eaton is a former chief operating officer of Cini-Little International who received the Frank H. T. Rhodes Exemplary Service Award in 2001 and has worked with the Cornell Alumni Ambassador Admissions network in Maryland and the Cornell Hotel Society and Sustainable Development and Environmental Committee. Eaton stressed his desire to be further involved in Cornell’s environmental policy.
“Cornell is already on the forefront of reducing energy use, you see it in every unit of the University, you see people working for the improvement of sustainable development and protection of the environment. My business is hospitality and I worked with the West Campus system to help make it affordable, to see the impact of serious recycling. It is a never-ending opportunity to get more deeply involved” said Eaton.
Both Ettinger and Eaton have children who have attended Cornell, and feel that it has helped them stay in touch with Cornell’s current issues and social climate.
“My oldest son graduated from Cornell in 1995 so I have an idea of what is like today versus what it was like when I was there from 1958-64. I understand that it is a different school and I’d like to come in and learn as much as I can about what needs are today. I have a great interest in diversity and am strongly in favor of Cornell’s blind admissions policy to make sure the school is getting the best students we can possibly get” said Ettinger.
The importance of social life in addition to academics is also something of great interest to Eaton, who is a former president of a fraternity.
“I was very active in Greek life; I feel that it is a critical element of the learning process of both the educational and social standpoint. The world is so much more complex than when I graduated and I think student activities help catch student needs that may slip under the radar” said Eaton.
As alumni trustees, Ettinger and Eaton will work closely with other members of the Board, and perhaps most importantly, President Skorton. They will also work with Mao Ye grad and Kate Duch ’09, the student representatives on the Board.
“The emotional and intellectual and financial commitment of alumni here is really striking … that really came home to me when talking to these two” said Skorton of Ettinger and Eaton, who will take office beginning June 1.