Sheryl Tucker accepts the Mosaic Medal of Distinction.

2019 recipient of the Frank H. T. Rhodes Exemplary Alumni Service Award

At Homecoming 2014, trustee and Cornell Mosaic chair Sheryl Tucker watched with joy as the Mosaic tailgate tent filled to capacity. “Alumni of all ages and backgrounds were coming in to ask ‘what’s this all about?’” she says. “That was a big moment for me.”

In that overflowing tent, Sheryl, who is now a trustee emerita and Presidential Councillor, saw the results of some of her hard work as a volunteer.

As a trustee, a leader of diverse affinity groups, and an advisor to critical engagement projects, Sheryl brings an optimism to volunteering and connects alumni communities with the university. “Sheryl loves Cornell and has worked to make it better through her service,” says trustee Linda Gadsby ’88. “She doesn’t shy away from the tough discussions.”

An accomplished Time Inc. executive editor overseeing publications including Time, Essence, Money, and others, Sheryl first got involved as a volunteer when she was invited to be part of the launch of the President’s Council of Cornell Women (PCCW) in 1990. Together with other initial members, she was tasked to engage alumnae in the life of the university. She remained active with PCCW for 12 years. The organization’s co-founder Lilyan Affinito ’53, who passed away in 2018, is her role model of service and grace under pressure. PCCW, Sheryl says, is where she learned the value of staying connected with the university.

Sheryl loves Cornell and has worked to make it better through her service. She doesn’t shy away from the tough discussions.
—Linda Gadsby ’88

She passes on the value of connection in her service to Cornell Mosaic, working closely with then Associate Dean of Students, Dr. Renee Alexander ’74 and trustee, Elizabeth Moore ’75. Currently a Mosaic member at large, she served on the executive committee from 2010 to 2018. It is truly inspiring, she says, to help alumni of color and LGBTQ alumni understand their part in the greater Cornell alumni community. In turn, she helps the university recognize the breadth of the alumni from all communities. She says she wants to make sure that diverse alumni feel welcome and included in all organizations and events, from serving on boards and task forces to participating in Homecoming.

Sheryl served as an alumni-elected member of the Cornell University Board of Trustees, from 2011 to 2018. She also benefited the student population as a member of the Student and Campus Life Advisory Council since 2015.

She served on the Cornell Alumni Magazine Governing Committee, supporting the magazine’s role in telling stories about Cornell alumni, “amazing people doing amazing things.”

In her most recent volunteer contribution this year, Sheryl helped to create a new alumni engagement strategy as a part of the rebooted Cornell Alumni Advisory Board. This role actually informed her current professional work as Chief External Affairs Officer at AFS Intercultural Programs, an international study abroad and social impact organization based in New York City.

Learning as she serves is in keeping with all Sheryl’s volunteer service on behalf of Cornell. “Every single one of my volunteer positions is a continuation of my education,” she says. “It’s a fun way to learn.”

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