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Frequently Asked Questions

What does Council do?

Council is a group of alumni who have demonstrated leadership and an interest in Cornell. The university recognizes them and makes them a part of the network to which it turns when it needs help. Council members are the first group of alumni to which the university turns for the following kinds of activities:

  • serving as Cornell's spokesperson in alumni or community groups
  • hosting
  • fundraising
  • serving on a task force to look at a specific issue
  • serving on non-Council committees, affinity, and advisory groups
  • lobbying the federal or state governments
  • identifying and nominating other Cornell leaders to Council

How long is a membership term?

A term on Council is four years. After a mandatory two years off, the member will automatically be reconsidered for another membership term. This consideration is based on continued leadership and involvement, as well as past attendance at Trustee-Council Annual Meeting.

Am I automatically reelected at the end of the two-year period off after I have completed a term?

No—reelection is not automatic. Everyone who completes the two years off will be automatically considered along with all new nominees. The Membership Committee presents a slate consisting of those who have the most leadership activity for more than five years­­—at Cornell, in their business or profession, and in their community.

If I am not reelected at the end of the two years off, will I ever be able to
rejoin Council?

Yes. Anyone can be nominated for membership at any time, except during the two-year break. The key consideration is whether you have maintained active leadership roles for Cornell. The Membership Committee also looks at your Trustee-Council Annual Meeting attendance during your most recent term.

What is a Council Ambassador?

All Council members represent the university, sharing the vision for Cornell's future with its alumni, parents, and friends. A Council ambassador shares the current university message at least once during the fiscal year at Cornell social events or meetings, informally through conversations with Cornellians and non-Cornellians, or via social media. Ambassadors are recognized with a special name tag and are listed on the Ambassadors Honor Roll once they have given a university update.

What is Trustee-Council Annual Meeting about?

  • The university and the Annual Meeting Planning Committee create a schedule of academic sessions, tours, and lectures to keep alumni informed about current teaching and research at Cornell. The format of the event is similar to a three-day conference, and includes the university president's "State of the University" address.
  • New members are asked to attend a welcome luncheon on the first day of the meeting.
  • The schedule includes opportunities for Council members to discuss and voice opinions and ideas about issues important to Cornell.
  • A number of opportunities are provided to hear about current student life—through athletics, academics, scholarship, and other activities.
  • Dinners on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday provide social settings in which members may get acquainted or reacquainted with each other.
  • Council committees meet and provide information to interested new members.

What is the "Joint Annual Meeting"?         

This is the official meeting of Trustees and Council members in joint session on the Friday morning of each Trustee-Council Annual Meeting.

What is the Administrative Board?

The Administrative Board is the governing body of Council. It is composed of a chair, several vice chairs, chairs of all Council committees, faculty and Trustee representatives, chairs/presidents of all major alumni organizations, Cornell executive staff, and 14 members-at-large. A complete list of the Administrative Board may be found on on the Council website.

What does the Administrative Board do?

The Administrative Board represents the larger body of Council members. It meets four times a year. The university uses the Board to gain insight and advice on issues facing Cornell and to help in planning how to involve all Council members and other alumni where appropriate.

How are Administrative Board members chosen?

Elected positions are the responsibility of the Nominating Committee, chaired by the immediate past chair of Council and comprised of one additional officer of the Council and three Administrative Board members.  The Executive Director and the Director of the Council, or their designees, are ex officio members of the Nominating Committee.