Congratulations to the 2015 Candidates for the
Alumni Trustee Election!
If you have questions about the nominations process or the election, please contact Loreal Maguire.
By voting, you are helping to select the alumni-elected members of the Cornell University Board of Trustees who guide the future of our alma mater. Cornell is one of the few major universities that offer their alumni this opportunity, so make sure you are ALL IN and vote!
Your Vote Matters
Last year. less than 2.5 percentage points separated the first- and last-place candidates. Make a difference by voting for the two candidates you want to see become trustees. Not happy with the ballot choices? Feel free to make a nomination.
- Go to the featured web link in the communication you receive.
- Enter the validation number that appears.
- Enter your 2-digit class year.
- Share! Tell your fellow Cornell alumni that you voted via social media and get out the vote!
If you didn’t receive your ballot, contact the Help Desk at email@example.com or at 866-720-4357 (toll free) Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. (EST).
What is the Role of the Board of Trustees?
The Board of Trustees is vested with "supreme control" over the university, including all of its colleges and other units. Trustees have a fiduciary responsibility to the university as a whole. Among other responsibilities, the board elects the president, adopts an annual plan of financial operation, and establishes degrees to be awarded.
The board consists of 64 voting members. In addition to board-elected trustees, Cornell students, employees, faculty, and alumni elect individuals to serve on the board with full voting privileges. Four ex officio members—the president of the university, the governor of the state of New York, the speaker of the state assembly, and the president of the state senate—also have voting privileges.
- Nominations Open: January 31, 2015
- Nominations Close: April 13, 2015
- Contributions to the Board of Trustees
- Recognized level of success
- Demonstrated commitment to Cornell
- Acknowledgement of the importance of higher education
- Strong integrity and exemplary conduct
- Satisfaction of both broad and specific needs of the board
- Personal skills and characteristics
- Interpersonal ability in both one-on-one and group settings
- Good judgment and strong analytical aptitude
- Fervent yet not dogmatic convictions
- Proven leadership
- Vision and perspective, and the ability to articulate them
- Common sense and pragmatism
- Effectiveness as a prospective trustee
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- Ability to put the university ahead of special interests or constituencies
- Undivided allegiance (e.g., concurrent service on another Ivy board would probably not work)
- Availability to attend all the meetings and participate in committee work
- Collegiality (i.e., shares ideas and decision-making)
- Ongoing commitment to offer financial support to Cornell
Committee on Alumni Trustee Nominations
The Committee on Alumni Trustee Nominations is composed of twenty-three alumni members, one representing each college and eleven others from a broad range of alumni organizations. The committee is charged by the Cornell Alumni Association with screening and endorsing qualified alumni to stand as candidates in the annual election for alumni trustees. The nominations received by the committee are submitted by alumni. While administratively supported by staff, the review of candidates and selection of nominees are wholly the responsibility of the alumni committee.
In 1939, the trustees of the university decided that elections for alumni trustees should be more dignified. Previously, there had been a great deal of competitive campaigning, large sums of money spent by the nominees, and many pressures. After surveying procedures used by other universities, the trustees suggested that Cornell's alumni association study the problem and make recommendations. It was recommended that a Committee on Alumni Trustee Nominations be formed. Thus, the committee was created to stimulate a continuous and exhaustive search for the ablest alumni to be placed in nomination.
- May: Subcommittee of CATN meets to cull down pool of nominees based on nomination criteria; members in fourth year of term transition off committee
- June: Term starts for new CATN members
- July: New CATN member orientation webinar
- August: Materials finalized for committee review
- September–November: Full CATN meets to review candidates, using nomination criteria, demographic data of the BOT and candidates, and needs of the Board to make determination
- November: List of top 8 candidates given in rank order to BOT Chair, who then offers candidacy to those on the list in the order of their ranking; first four to reply positively run on the ballot
- December: Candidates send biographical materials, interview questions, photos, etc to Office of Alumni Affairs
- January–March: Election
- April: New alumni-elected trustees announced
Policy on Campaigning
“Prohibition on Campaigning by Alumni Trustee Candidates: Reflecting the view of all Cornellians, the Cornell Alumni Association desires that the most highly qualified and dedicated men and women serve as alumni trustees of the university. Many who might be superb trustees are financially unable and/or do not desire to engage in campaigning. It is for these reasons as well as having candidates considered solely on their merits that the Cornell Alumni Association prohibits campaign activity of any kind by or on behalf of any candidate. Campaigning includes, but is not restricted to, soliciting endorsements of one's candidacy, written or oral contact with alumni about one's candidacy, statements to the press, advertising, press releases, etc. If publishers of college, unit, class or club newsletters or their like wish to print any candidate information, they must give the same information in the same space on all candidates for that election. Questions should be directed to the Office of Alumni Affairs.”
- Ballots were sent to 209,498 alumni (48,628 via email and 160,855 via paper)
- Number of votes received were 22,223 or 10.6% (17,378 online, 4,845 paper)
- The number of voters requesting paper ballots and voting via paper ballots continues to decline each year
- Approximately 3,000 ballots were returned due to bad addresses (~2,400 via mail; ~500 via email).
- Cornell’s voting average for the past four years is 12.4%
- 2.4 percentage points separated the first and last candidates
- Voter characteristics
- Only 34% of our 6,379 volunteer leaders voted
- 63% of voters were male
- The decades with the majority of voters were the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s
- The videos of last year’s candidates were viewed more than 5,800 times