Paterson Nominates Prof To SUNY Board of Trustees

Ronald Ehrenberg, the Irving M. Ives Professor of industrial and labor relations and economics and member of the Cornell Board of Trustees, was nominated in May by Gov. David Paterson to serve on the Board of Trustees for the State University of New York (SUNY) school system.
Ehrenberg, a long-time professor at Cornell and author of the book Tuition Rising, which discusses the rapidly increasing price of tuition at many of America’s colleges, was nominated for the position because of his expertise on “public higher education.” Additionally, “both my wife and I, and lots of my relatives, are graduates of SUNY so I have a concern for the institution which is very, very deep,” Ehrenberg said.

Trustees Vote to Allow University to Take on Debt, Reduce Endowment Spending

The Cornell Board of Trustees unanimously agreed this afternoon to allow the University incur up to a half-billion dollars in debt and scale back its endowment spending.

The Trustees authorized the University to sell up to $500 million in taxable bonds to provide working capital and institutional liquidity.

The University is also set to reduce spending from the endowment by 15 percent starting July 1, with further cuts planned for subsequent years.

“[The University] can’t keep taking the money out as if it were a larger endowment,” President David Skorton said in an interview Friday.

Trustees Discuss Cornell’s Future

In advance of their full meeting Friday, Cornell’s Board of Trustees met in committees yesterday to discuss a range of topics, including federal research funding and a re-examination of the University’s policy on conflicts of interest and standards of ethical conduct.
In accordance with New York State’s Open Meetings Law, several committees held open sessions yesterday before subsequently convening in closed sessions, which were not available to the media.
At the trustees’ Committee on Governmental Relations, Cornell’s office of government and community relations updated members about how the University will be impacted by recent federal legislation.

University Set to Slash Budgets

On Saturday, the Board of Trustees approved cuts to the University’s operating budget, increased the cost of tuition for the next academic year and further extended an external hiring pause and construction pause that were first implemented last October. The move comes as the University reels from a 27-percent decline in its endowment, drastic cuts in state funding and a decrease in philanthropic contributions.

Skorton Addresses State of C.U.

Despite national economic turmoil and threats of the worst financial crisis since the great depression, President David Skorton assured on Friday morning that Cornell is “not in a financial crisis.” Still, in his annual State of the University Address, Skorton emphasized the need for the University to revise its economic plan for its future in light of recent “stresses and strains that deserve our serious attention.”

Stephen Ashley ’62 Talks Fannie Mae, Capital Campaign

With the Board of Trustees convening in Ithaca this weekend for their annual meeting, The Sun sat down with Stephen Ashley ’62, MBA ’64 to discuss his role as co-chair of the $4 billion capital campaign. Ashley is currently the chairman and CEO of The Ashley Group, a collection of real estate, brokerage and investment companies. In September, Ashley resigned as chairman of the mortgage giant Fannie Mae, after the government-sponsored enterprise was placed into conservatorship by the U.S. Treasury.

The Sun: The Capital Campaign has raised an impressive $2.29 billion to date. How would you describe your role with the campaign as co-chair?

Former Cornell President Rhodes Joins New Saudi University’s Board of Trustees

Former Cornell President Frank Rhodes’s newest venture will bring him far from Cayuga’s Waters. Rhodes, who served as Cornell’s ninth president from 1977 until 1995, has been named to the board of trustees of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia, according to the University.
The new school, which will open in less than a year, describes itself as benefiting “the region and the world.”
“KAUST is the realization of a decades-long vision of the Custodian of the Twoo Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud,” according to the school’s website.
The new school will train 250-350 graduate students in its first class with a faculty that may approach 400 members.

University Elects Five New Members to Board of Trustees

Cornell is the only Ivy League University to have students, faculty and staff as full members on the Board of Trustees, in addition to alumni. In its annual process of electing new trustees, the Board recently added five new names to the 64-person list of members, including a faculty member, staff member, graduate student, and two alumni.
“I think it’s important to have a faculty voice at the Board of Trustees to maintain a connection between the deliberations and decisions of the Board and the activities and priorities of the University from a faculty and student perspective,” said new Faculty Trustee Prof. Rosemary Avery, chair of the Department of Policy Analysis and Management