After 22 years on Cornell’s campus, Carolyn Ainslie, vice president for planning and budget, will be departing to become vice president for finance at Princeton University. In lieu of Ainslie’s departure, Provost Biddy Martin and President David J. Skorton jointly named Paul Streeter, Ainslie’s deputy, as Cornell’s interim vice president for planning and budget.
“Opportunities like this don’t come up this often,” Ainslie told The Sun. “It’s a good fit for me. I will draw on my experience from Cornell.”
In her new position, Ainslie will oversee six main offices: asset administration; budget; controller; operations; risk management; and payroll, payables and taxation, according to Princeton’s website. Ainslie will also be a full member of Princeton’s leadership team. Focused on spreading the benefits of higher education to people all over the world, Ainslie sees this position as another avenue to discuss issues of higher education and establish initiatives to improve its reach.
“I’m strongly committed to higher education,” Ainslie said, “… [and] increasing the affordability and accessibility of education to our country and the world. I have been fortunate to be involved with major strategic initiatives and have had great leaders. I look forward to being involved with the national issues concerning higher education and working with Cornell University.”
Ainslie helped establish a new financial aid policy for Cornell in an attempt to improve accessibility. She also highlighted that key obstacles to the success of higher education are misperceptions from the diverse education, as well as superficialities like university rankings.
In light of Ainslie’s departure, Martin stated in e-mail: “Carolyn Ainslie’s contributions are too numerous and too significant to list. She has served Cornell for over 20 years and has been the right hand to two provosts — Don Randel and me.”
Martin went on to praise Ainslie’s personal qualities and her ability to use these traits to serve Cornell.
“What makes her unique is the combination of intelligence, breadth and depth of knowledge about Cornell, her devotion to the core missions of a research university, her collaborative spirit, her attention to detail and understanding of the big picture, her ‘can do’ attitude, her creativity, and her intellectual curiosity,” Martin said.
Specifically, Martin highlighted such projects like the successful faculty salary initiative, the life sciences initiative, the Faculty Worklife Study, Salary Equity Studies and the new financial aid initiative, which have been essential to the University’s success.
Martin explained that under Ainslie’s “careful and creative stewardship of the budget” Cornell has kept a balanced budget.
While Ainslie has made remarkable contributions to Cornell’s financial department, the University must look to the future.
“Cornell’s Paul Streeter and his colleagues will pick up the ball and ensure a smooth transition and a bright future for the functions for which Carolyn has been responsible,” Martin said. “Financial aid, faculty recruitment and retention, space planning, long-range budget and capital planning will surely be at the top of the list.”
Streeter hopes to continue Ainslie’s work establishing a healthy budget for Cornell. Although he does not hope to make any major changes, Streeter aims to keep up the good management of the University’s finances and other institutions.
“I hope to provide leadership and support for the financial needs of the University,” Streeter said. “Ainslie did a great job up to this point and we’re focused not on any major changes, but continue to plan the finances of the University and other institutional planning.”