April 3, 2013

Cornell Searches for New Vice President of University Relations

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With a veteran administrator set to retire after four decades at Cornell, the University has begun searching for a new vice president of University relations, President David Skorton announced last Thursday.

The position will encompass the responsibilities of two existing positions: the vice president of University relations and the vice president of government and community relations, according to a statement Skorton released to the University.

Stephen Johnson, the current vice president of government and community relations, has served as a strong advocate for Cornell throughout his time at the University, according to Skorton’s statement.

“[Johnson] has advocated for effective legislative action to help support the educational, research, health care and public engagement missions of Cornell and others in higher education and, in so doing, has had an enormously positive effect on us all,” Skorton said in the statement.

Johnson said he has enjoyed the four decades he has spent at the University.

“The experience has been terrific. It has been an honor, a pleasure, to work for the University,” Johnson said. “I especially enjoyed working with the president’s leadership group.”

As vice president of government and community relations, Johnson has served as the liaison for Cornell to various levels of the U.S. government. He said his job ensures that the University’s values and goals are fully incorporated into the development of the University’s positions on important legislative and public policy issues.

“I have worked with the leadership of the University on matters relating to the local community, the state government and the federal government,” Johnson said. “I also am the registered lobbyist for the University with the City of New York, State of New York and the federal government.”

Johnson will continue to serve in his position until his successor is found, according to Skorton’s statement.

Johnson said that, after he retires, he hopes Cornell will continue to be involved “in matters of state and national policy and continue being the leading land grant university in the nation.”

Kathryn Boor ’80, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, said Johnson has provided keen insight and pushed the University toward positive changes throughout his tenure.

“[Johnson] knows everyone and is affectionately known by all — and this characteristic has been exceptionally valuable to Cornell,” she said.

Johnson began his career at the University working for Cornell Cooperative Extension in 1972. He then worked in CALS, and in 1984, joined the University’s office of government relations.

During his time at Cornell, Johnson said he has seen several changes at the University — most significantly, its rise “as a nationally prominent research university and its increase in stature amongst peer universities.”

“It’s been a great ride. I’ve enjoyed working for this truly outstanding University,” Johnson said.

Skorton also announced in his statement that Prof. Glenn Altschuler, American studies, and dean of the School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions, will step down from his current role as vice president of University relations when the new vice president is appointed.

“[Altschuler] served with distinction as vice president for University relations for the past four years,” Skorton said in the statement.”

Original Author: Anushka Mehrotra