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Cornell Alumni-Elected Trustees

Congratulations to the winners of the 2016 Alumni
Trustee Election!



Katrina E. James

BS HumEc '96

Jersey City, NJ

Read more.


Dr. Pamela G. Marrone


Davis, CA

Read more.

If you have questions about the nominations process or the election, please contact Loreal Maguire.


Vote Nominate Learn More
• Why Vote? • Nominations Timeline • FAQ
• Your Vote Matters • Nominations Criteria • Policy on Campaigning
• How to Vote • How to Nominate • Election Data
• What is the Role of the Board of   Trustees? • Committee on Alumni Trustee   Nominations
• Process



Why Vote?
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?  Make a nomination beginning April 25, 2016.

How to Vote
Details about the 2017 alumni trustee election will be posted in the fall.

    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. Alumni trustees serve a four-year term. 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.

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Nominations Timeline

Nominations Criteria
Consider these suggested skills, attributes, and experiences of trustees:

  • 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
    • Diversity
    • 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
    • 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
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How to Nominate
Nominations open on April 25, 2016. Submit a nomination.

Recommendations for getting started:

  • Step One: Review the nominations criteria.
  • Step Two: Review the position description and then click on the red NOMINATE button.
  • Step Three: Enter the name of your nominee. If he/she is already in the CUVolunteer system, the name will appear in a dropdown list—choose it and the person’s NetID will prepopulate the next field. If the name of the person is not in the dropdown list, type it in and enter the NetID of the person (click on NetID lookup to find the person’s NetID).
  • Step Four: Enter your name as nominator.*
  • Step Five: Provide replies to the three required questions.
  • Step Six: Click Submit

*Please note that you will need to have created a profile within CUVolunteer in order to submit a nomination. You will need your NetID and password to create a profile. If you have questions, please contact Carole Quealy or consult our friendly User Guide.

Committee on Alumni Trustee Nominations
The Committee on Alumni Trustee Nominations is composed of twenty-five 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.


  • April 25–June 13, 2016: Nominations Period
  • 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: New CATN member orientation webinar
  • July: Term starts for new CATN members
  • 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
  • Spring 2017: Election (specific dates to be announced)

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Learn More

Frequently Asked Questions about the Alumni Trustee Election

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, social media and other networking technologies, press releases, etc.  If publishers of college, unit, class or club newsletters, e-mails, social media posts, 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.”

2015 Election Data
2016 data to be posted soon!


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