By Lydia Liebman
On November 7, 2014, Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology appointed Dr. Sharon DeVivo as the college's seventh and first female president. Formally Senior Vice President of Vaughn College, DeVivo has worked at the college for nearly twenty years. Previously she worked in public relations at the C.W. Post campus of Long Island University as well as the director of communications at Fordham University.
The installation ceremony featured words of praise for Dr. Devivo from a plethora of Vaughn College dignitaries. "Sharon knows absolutely everything," said Mr. Thomas Broschart, President of the Faculty Senate, "she helped move us to the point that we're at now and she has visions for the future. I know that she will continue to work tirelessly and I hope that she stays with us as president for many, many years to come."
Jade Kukula, a 2007 graduate of Vaughn College who currently works in the defense and intelligence community at Aerospace Data Facility East, Lockhead Martin, spoke highly of the college and of Dr. DeVivo. "We have a saying where I work: supra et ultra. It means to go above and beyond," said Kukula, "and if ever there were a place where that's going to happen its here at Vaughn College with Sharon DeVivo." Kukula expressed that Vaughn College "gave her literally everything" and that the education she received has "kept the fire burning" since she graduated nearly eight years ago. "The staff and faculty instill a fire in us and we need more of that in the STEM world," she said.
The president of the Student Government Association, David Cepeda, also shared positive remarks about DeVivo and the college. "Devivo has hit the ground running. She has been the vigor behind many of our events that have occurred this year and has cooperated with the students to bring forth many accomplishments," said Cepeda, "Dr. DeVivo has been the epitome of communication and integration." Cepeda went on to praise DeVivo for facilitating and organizing a recent meeting at the college with Vice President Joe Biden, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the student ambassadors to discuss the future modernization of local airports.
After Cepeda's comments, DeVivo was formally installed by Chair of the Board of Trustees, Mr. Thomas J. McKee to thunderous applause. "I am so touched," began Devivo, "This ceremony is not about me but about this campus and this community. It's about taking time to mark the significant achievements of this institution."
DeVivo spoke on her last nineteen years at Vaughn with pride. Notably, she discussed how when she started at the college, 90% of the students were tied to one industry that, at the time, was struggling. Then, in 1996, Vaughn received approval for a Bachelor of Science degree. In 1997, the inauguration of President John Fitzpatrick brought about a series of significant changes that included several new degrees including flight, management, engineering, graduate degrees, a residence hall and fundraising efforts, among others. She spoke at length about the importance of community at Vaughn College, noting that it is a priority of hers for all to feel welcome, respected and valued.
DeVivo also addressed the challenges facing Vaughn College and higher education in general, citing the shrinking number of high school graduates, the high cost of college tuition and the need for higher education to be simultaneously innovative and rigorous. "Our response to these challenges must include voices from inside and out," said DeVivo, "it will only be through a transparent, inclusive process of developing new degrees, finding new teaching methods and providing complimentary services that we will meet the needs of 21st century learning. DeVivo referred to a famous quote from William Butler Yeats, "education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire", as one of her favorites and encouraged others to take it to heart. "As educators [lighting a fire] has to be our goal. In the short term it is to provide the knowledge and the skills necessary to write a paper or solve a problem but the long term goal is to inspire a generation who are curious about the world," said DeVivo, "the challenge is to inspire lifelong learning."
In 2013, Vaughn College enrolled 1742 students. Currently, the institution offers Master's, bachelor's and associate degree programs in engineering, technology, management and aviation as well as certificate programs in air traffic control, aircraft maintenance and aircraft dispatch.
By James Clark
We can recall lessons of natural disasters from the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco. We even remember the recent catastrophes such as the earthquake and typhoon in Tohoku, Japan; the tornados in Moore, Oklahoma; even Hurricane Sandy that plunged the East Coast. Damage was caused, lives were lost, and we are still left with a lingering question why?
The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) opened its doors to its new exhibit Nature's Fury, dedicated to the science of natural disasters.
President of AMNH Ellen Futter said the new exhibit sheds light on historic and recent natural disasters, and the science it takes to predict and lessen the risk of future catastrophes.
"While these events often instill fear, understanding the science behind them helps us better predict, prepare for, and cope with them," said Futter. "This exhibition is part of the Museum's longstanding effort to explore the interactions between humans and the natural world. And as our climate warms and our environment changes, understanding the impact of these phenomena is more important than ever."
Senior Vice President Michael Novacek said the exhibit illustrates how dynamic the planet is.
"Natural disasters are part of the human experience," said Novacek. "They're phenomena that are tremendous in terms of our daily lives."
Curator of Nature's Fury Edmond Mathez said science is bringing us an understanding of how natural disasters work and how we can lower the risk that are the result.
"Science is allowing us to be more probabilistic about these natural disasters," said Mathez. "In the last several years we have seen extreme weather events, we will be able to better prepare for the ones in the future."
Other speakers included assistant curator for the division of anthropology Jennifer Newell, and James Webster curator for the department of earth and planetary sciences. Each speaker noted the importance of studying and researching disasters and highlighted that their research will allow mitigation that will help save more people when nature strikes again.
The museum features hands on exhibits including a seismometer that measures magnitude as you make a stomp with your feet; an interactive table that shows the timeline of Hurricane Sandy, and the effects it had on the island; and a stimulator that allows the visitor to see the inside and approach of a tornado. It also features historic tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes and volcanoes showing the progression in technology and predictability between the events.
The exhibit is open to the public starting November 15th until August 9th.
by Mariah Klair Castillo
(L-R) Margaret Cuomo, M.D., Jeff Lynford, Tondra Lynford, and Jennifer Raab
Resources for Children with Special Needs, the only independent non-profit organization in New York City that works with the families of children with special needs, recently held their 30th Anniversary Gala at the Manhattan Penthouse. The organization, founded by Tondra Lynford, Helene Craner, and Karen Schlesinger, helps children with special needs and their families by giving them support and various resources to help these children gain a greater quality of life. These three co-founders created the organization after having children with special needs. Moreover, Lynford, along with her husband Jeff Lynford, are active supporters in improving the quality of life for children all over the world.
Mickey Stalonas, Executive Director of the Warner Fund, was given the Impact Award, for investing in non-profit organizations. The Warner Fund recently gave Resources $960,000, making the organization the largest receiver of grants from the Warner Fund. Stalonas praised the organization for their efforts, saying, "Parents are the heroes, and Resources gives them the ammunition to help their children."
Ellen Miller-Wachtel, Chair of the Board of Directors of Resources and the Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc., was given the Leadership Award.
Margaret Cuomo, M.D., was awarded with the Visionary Award for her work advocating cancer prevention. Dr. Cuomo, a certified radiologist, has worked with cancer patients at North Shore University Hospital, and has seen firsthand the devastating impact of being diagnosed with cancer. She therefore used her experience to advocate living a healthier lifestyle and to write A World Without Cancer.
Tondra Lynford presented Dr. Cuomo with the award, said, "Since its inception, Resources for Children with Special Needs has provided advocacy and support for all children and their families dealing with all things that prevent or disrupt the process of learning. Any child who has undergone cancer treatment falls in this category. For a child, cancer is not only a loss of innocence; it is a learning handicap."
In her speech, Cuomo talked about cancer prevention. Over 50 percent of all cancer is preventable through a healthy diet, exercise, moderation of alcohol, abstaining from smoking, protecting the skin from the sun, and managing stress. There is a critical time of development for children where one can reduce their risk for cancer, and she notes that what parents can teach their children should be reinforced at school and through legislation. Cuomo advocated for new legislation to eliminate harmful chemicals from household products, and invited the audience to join her in this fight. She states, "A collaborative effort is needed to prevent cancer, and that goal is within our reach."
She also quoted Eleanor Roosevelt: "Surely, in the light of history, it is more intelligent to hope rather than to fear, to try rather than not to try. For one thing we know beyond all doubt: Nothing has ever been achieved by the person who says, 'It can't be done.' You must do the things you think you cannot do."
Cuomo and Lynford are prime examples of Roosevelt's quote.#
By Sybil Maimin
The larger-than-life self-portraits currently hanging in the gallery spaces of New York's Child Mind Institute are arresting in their intensity and straightforwardness. Created by teen-age students at the Dalton School, the pastel portraits are products of young minds open to new ways of seeing and doing. Under the guidance of art teacher Lotus Do, students in Beginning Drawing classes began the project by sketching small everyday objects and learning how to make the objects "pop" out of the page, or contrast with their backgrounds. They moved from charcoal to pastels as they took on the assignment of portraying themselves. Do explains, "The idea is for students to suspend self-critical thinking and think more objectively about drawing."
The young artists studied facial proportions, shapes, composition, light, and color tones. They learned the basics of shading and perspective. To capture their likenesses, they looked in mirrors.
Max, a student, explains, "You look at yourself and analyze your face. . . The biggest struggle is having a feel, feeling the lines rather than overly thinking about them. You have to distance yourself from the idea of a self-portrait and get away from preconceived notions."
Ben, another student, who sees himself as a "novice artist," says the challenge was, "You see your face every day and have a clear picture of what it should look like. . . "On paper it looked different--my nose was too big, my hair unruly. . . It was hard to look at." He concluded, "You mustn't be self-critical. Art is a mental game." The resulting observational portraits are wonderfully expressive, subtly mysterious, colorful, sober, and skillfully executed.
Do applauds the students for allowing their portraits to be hung on public walls. "Kids are worried about what people think of them," she notes. "These students are very brave." The show, "Pastel Self-Portraits: Works by High School Students from The Dalton School," is part of the Child Mind Institute's Student Art Project and the inaugural exhibit funded by the Doris Sirow Memorial Art Fund. As noted by co-founder and president Dr. Harold S. Koplewicz, the Child Mind Institute, an independent non-profit organization dedicated to children's mental health care, has always exhibited student art in its gallery. He explains, "When families come to see us, they are struggling. Creating a warm and inviting environment is essential." In addition, "I love having the opportunity to offer local school kids a place to display their work." Linda Sirow, daughter of the late Doris Sirow and an art teacher at Dalton, explains the Memorial Art Fund will honor her mother by ensuring the exhibition program continues. Public and independent schools in the New York Metropolitan area are invited to submit proposals for a gallery exhibition at the Child Mind Institute to curator Angela Gage at 212-308-3118, or firstname.lastname@example.org
Sybil Maimin, a senior reporter for Education Update, is an artist as well as an alumna of Columbia graduate school.
By Lydia Liebman
When Dina Habib Powell, President of the Goldman Sachs Foundation and Head of Goldman Sachs Bank USA's Urban Investment Group said, "When you educate a woman, you create a nation," those words rang as the theme of the Empower Breakfast sponsored by The Young Women's Leadership School (YWLN) held at Cipriani on Wednesday, October 15.
Tony award winning actress Idina Menzel, Pultizer Prize winning author Anna Quindlen and Andrew Farkas, CEO and Chairman of Island Capital Group were honored along with Habib Powell for their outstanding service to their communities and for the cause of educating young women.
New York dignitaries had praises to sing about the Empower Breakfast and YWLN's president, founder, and board member, Ann Rubenstein Tisch.
"This is one of the most extraordinary events," said fashion designer Tory Burch, "Ann is a true leader and everyone on that stage was so inspiring."
Tisch also commented on how joyous the event when she said, "I am so profoundly proud of our students and our alumni. You can see how much each group has accomplished both inside our schools and outside. These schools wouldn't survive and certainly wouldn't replicate if the students hadn't done the work to make them excellent schools. I'm blown away and so proud," said Tisch.
Sy Fliegel, President of the Center for Educational Innovation- Public Educational Association praised the event, "I'm exceptionally impressed. I love when they present where the graduates are today because in the final analysis that's what it's all about. Honestly it brings me to tears." President Ellen Futter, former president of Barnard College, current president of the American Museum of Natural History, shared Fliegel's sentiments. "I think this is a great event. I'm a long-term supporter of girls and women and especially their education. This is a great example of how transformative educational opportunity can be for young girls," said Futter, "The single best predictor of the health of a family is the level of the mother's education. This really matters."
The success of YWLN can be easily measured by its impressive statistics: more than 95% of students graduate, nearly 100% are accepted to college and $21 million in financial aid awards. "Our school offers a lot of opportunities and it opens up our minds to different things," says YWLN of Brooklyn student Evelies DeFrietas, 14, who have a penchant for science.
The students at the Empower Breakfast were chosen to attend based on teacher recommendations. In the case of DeFrietas, she was chosen out of over 400 applicants. Other students including Esrat Erina, 14, also shared inspiring words about the school. "This school gives you great opportunities to go to a good college and get a good job," she says, "there's a lot of love and sisterhood at this school."
Janelle Jones, 14, is a student at YWLS in Brooklyn and has already decided that Howard University will be her alma mater. "My school gives a very high level of work but they help you take the steps to do it and understand it. I feel like a lot of people are supporting us and it's an encouragement to go to college," said Jones. Based on the words of Hunter College President, Jennifer Raab, it seems that these girls have a great chance of being admitted to the college of their choice. "We have number of phenomenal girls [from YWLN] in our freshman class. We want to have as many of these girls as we can recruit," said Raab.
Each honoree had something profound to say as the accepted their award. Idina Menzel, perhaps best known for playing Elsa in the animated feature "Frozen", is the founder of A Broader Way Foundation, a performing arts program dedicated to offering girls from urban communities an outlet for self-expression and creativity. She held tightly to Jada McBeth, a 7th grade student at YWLN of East Harlem, as she described with happiness the dedication the girls show particularly to writing music at Camp Broader Way. "They're committed to taking risks," said Menzel, "and they help me to find my voice."
Andrew Farkas, Anna Quindlen, and Dina Habib Powell addressed the importance of education in their speeches. "Education is the foundation of self sufficiency. Self sufficiency is the cornerstone of self esteem and self esteem is the cornerstone of happiness," said Farkas. Quindlen said, "When you educate one girl, you improve the world by leaps and bounds. To have this many girls in the room educated so well you really think the world can get better."
YWLN began in East Harlem in 1996 as the first single-sex public school the United States had seen in over 30 years. Under Tisch's extraordinary leadership, YWLN has grown to five high-performing schools serving more than 2,200 girls in New York City.
YWLN currently operates in East Harlem, Queens, Astoria, the Bronx and Brooklyn. National affiliates include schools in Chicago, Baltimore, St. Louis, Rochester and various locations across Texas including Austin, Dallas, Lubbock, San Antonio, Fort Worth, Grand Prairie and Houston. #
Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts, the nationally acclaimed summer arts day camp that for almost 50 years has introduced the arts to more than 60,000 children, announces "The New Usdan" with many new courses for 2015. The Center begins its 48tth season with new program options that will add breadth to Usdan's renowned offerings, while new calendar options will accommodate more families' summer plans.
New Dance programs include hip hop (for grades 4-12, intermediate level), Beginning Combination Dance (grades 4-12, incorporating jazz, lyrical, theater and modern dance styles), and Lyrical Dance (grades 4-12, combining ballet and jazz). The Art Department will offer classes in Sewing and Fashion Design, beginner and advanced, where students can both design and create their clothes, Architecture Design (grades 7-12, building design principles, drawing and model-making), and Lego Design (grades 2-12), a program that uses Legos to create works of art and building design. In Recreation, new courses include Yoga, Archery and Quidditch (the non-Wizard version), all for grades 2-12. In addition, for students age 15 and up there will be a course in Lifeguarding, one leading to American Red Cross certification (proof of advanced swimming ability is required, plus a supplemental fee).
A second session of Usdan's special and successful 3-week season will launch in 2015. The new session will begin as Usdan's season opens on June 29, while the second 3-week session will begin on July 27. These options are in addition to Usdan's traditional 7-week and 4-week sessions.
The first Open House for the Center's 48th season, which begins Monday June 29, 2015, will be held on Sunday November 9 from 11 AM to 2 PM at the Center's magnificent 200-acre woodland campus, 185 Colonial Springs Road, Wheatley Heights, NY 11798. In addition to the Center's frequent Open House dates, Usdan offers individual weekend guided tours available by appointment. Weekday self-guided walks are also available. For directions to the Center, visit www.usdan.com. For an appointment, call 631-643-7900, (Visitors must be 21 years of age or accompanied by a parent). Families who cannot attend an Open House may make individual appointments for visits on weekends or weekdays throughout the Fall and Winter.
Usdan Center offers more than 40 programs in music, dance, theater, visual arts, creative writing, nature and ecology and chess, annually hosting more than 1,600 students from towns throughout the Tri-State New York area. No audition is needed for most courses, and transportation is provided in air- conditioned buses that depart from most New York-area neighborhoods. One- third of Usdan's students receive scholarship assistance based on family need. Video from many of Usdan's programs and special events, may now be viewed on the Center's website, as well as on YouTube. Also, families can check out Usdan's Facebook site, where additional information and late-breaking news is featured.
Future Open Houses during 2014-15 will be on Sundays December 14, January 25, March 15, April 19, and May 17; and on Wednesday February 18, all from 11 AM to 2 PM.
Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts includes among its alumni actors Natalie Portman and Olivia Thirlby and singers Jane Monheit and Mariah Carey. The Center is open to all young people from age 6 to 18. Although the mission of the Center is for every child to establish a relationship with the arts, the unique stimulation of the Center has caused many to go on to arts careers. Alumni include members of Broadway shows and major music, theater, and dance ensembles such as the Boston Pops and the New York City Ballet. In addition to its regular programs, Usdan offers special opportunities for advanced high school- age performing and visual artists. These include Music Staff Internships and a Musical Rep Theatre Ensemble. Usdan Center is an agency of the UJA-Federation of New York. Usdan Center also recently co-presented the sold-out "Jimmy Webb and Jane Monheit" concert at Port Washington's Landmark on Main Street. ###
Endicott College, a leader in furthering programs for single parents in higher education, announced it has received a unique grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), a unit of the U.S. Department of Education. Valued at $495,000 over three years and beginning October 1, 2014, this grant will fund activities at the newly established Center for Residential Student Parent Programs, located at Endicott College. The Center will serve as a national hub for single-parent programs, including partnerships with colleges and universities across the country, and for the related evaluation, research and policy advocacy efforts surrounding them.
FIPSE grants are awarded to organizations focused on improving postsecondary educational opportunities through innovative educational reform ideas. The Center for Residential Student Parent Programs will use FIPSE funds to build and sustain a robust national network of programs and institutions targeting supports for low-income, single-parent students. The Center has already begun building an expert advisory board and collaborating with institutions serving single-parent students from across the country.
"This grant represents many years of hard work, patience, and networking on a national scale," said Endicott College president Dr. Richard Wylie. "To see it come through is not only a feeling of satisfaction, but also excitement. Endicott, as well as myself personally, has a broad commitment to expanding the dialogue on supporting single, low-income student parents, and I am so proud to be a part of work that will further this important initiative across the nation. Through the hard work of so many dedicated people, these types of programs continue to help single parents get the education they need to succeed, and it's a huge step to have those programs supported by the U.S. Department of Education."
The Center for Residential Student Parent Programs is not the first initiative at Endicott College established to benefit parents seeking post-secondary education. Endicott founded its groundbreaking residential single parent program Keys to Degrees: Educating Two-Generations Together in 1993.
By Irving Spitz
A major problem for classical music is the diminishing interest in the genre reflected by sparse attendances at concerts. In an attempt to counteract this phenomenon, many musical organizations, including those in Israel, include introductory pre-concert lectures to familiarize the audience with the works to be played.
The acclaimed Israeli Carmel quartet takes this a step further. In their appearances all over Israel, they have an explanatory lecture not as a preconcert format, but as an integral part of the performance. This innovative programming is often scheduled on successive evenings so that the lecture can be given in both Hebrew and English.
The Carmel quartet was originally established in 1999. Its members include Rachel Ringelstein (first violin), Liah Raikhlin (second violin), Yoel Greenberg (viola) and Tami Waterman (cello). Individually, each of these four outstanding musicians has been the recipient of many prestigious honors and prizes.
Today, the Carmel Quartet is generally acknowledged to be one of the foremost Israeli chamber groups. Since their founding, they have garlanded several international awards and have performed to rave reviews in Israel, as well as throughout Europe and the USA either alone or together with other world-renowned musicians.
Franz Schubert died in 1828 before his 32nd birthday. Throughout his short life, he was under the influence of Beethoven who passed away in 1827. Many musicologists believe that Beethoven's death unleashed in Schubert a burst of creative activity, almost unprecedented in the history of music.
During the last year of Schubert's short life, compositions flowed endlessly from his pen. They include the incomparable song cycle, Winterreise, another large collection of songs, a mass, several other choral works, completion of his great symphony in C, the last three piano sonatas, a group of piano impromptus, his fantasia for two pianos and the great incomparable string quintet in C major, D 956. The latter is scored for two violins, viola, and two cellos and was completed just two months before the composer's death. It only received its first public performance 22 years later. This is really astounding since this supreme masterpiece is acknowledged by many as representing the peak of the chamber music repertoire.
Schubert's quintet was featured as the backbone of the most recent concert of the Carmel Quartet in the auditorium at the Jerusalem Music Center. The entertaining yet sophisticated lecture given by musicologist, Yoel Greenberg who is also the quartet's violist, explained how the second movement's plaintive mood makes it popular as background for film, poetry and literature. He cited several cogent examples with film clips and literature readings by members of the quartet. As Greenberg pointed out, the incomparable pianist, Arthur Rubinstein himself described this adagio movement as the "entrance to heaven" and requested that it be played at his funeral.
The first half of the concert ended with a short "quartet for a missing cellist," specially commissioned from the Israeli composer, Gideon Lewensohn as homage to the Schubert Quintet. As the final strains of this innovative work ended, it was replaced by the steady beating of a metronome, perhaps indicative of music's timeless quality.
Cellist Hillel Zori joined the Carmel Quartet for the performance of the quintet. The musicians began with beautifully nuanced, lush, swelling fortissimo chords that usher in the work. In the second movement adagio, the string players mustered the required tranquility of the sublime first theme. Especially effective was the trio of second violin, viola, first cello accompanied by the pizzicato from first violin and second cello. The audience were held in thrall waiting for each succeeding note. This was followed by the intensely turbulent middle section finally reverting back to the quiet contemplative mood with which the movement began.
In the hands of the Carmel quartet, the dramatic symphonic-like third movement scherzo was a real contrast with the previous adagio. It was hard to believe that the volume of sound emanated from only five string instruments. The quartet brought out all of the mood contrasts of this sophisticated movement. Finally, they successfully captured the ebullient Viennese and Hungarian dance motives of the final allegretto, which brought the most memorable concert to a conclusion.
The article was originally published in part in Esra Magazine, Issue 176, September 2014
By James Clark
Deep in the Heart of Texas lies the small town of Meridian. It is home to a little over 1,000 residents. Known for its southern hospitality, one Mexican restaurant and the agricultural business, at large Meridian is a small rural town. Take a right turn going north on Main Street and you will land on a county road recently named Yellow Jacket Drive conveniently in honor of the school's mascot, and a result of the creative collaboration of a student body's democratic vote. This is where your unbiased journalist and author of this read graduated 2 years ago.
I decided to pursue journalism my 8th grade year when Senora Carpenter told a Spanish 1 class full of nervous and uneager students, myself included, the importance of understanding culture and the world around you even when it is not in your backyard. I instantly wanted to learn everything about the world and the people who live in it.
Senora Carpenter eventually asked me to join the speech team. The result was my passion for current issues, which created my curiosity to try public debate. The accomplishments from these academic events are what allowed me to attend a private university on a hefty scholarship. With the help of several teachers from Meridian High School I was able to leave town, pursue my education and fight hard for what I believe in. I was a lucky one.
I didn't just have teachers. I had mentors, awakeners, leaders and motivators that allowed me to discover what I was capable of and the barriers I was meant to break. I had my own educational philanthropists.
Even with the guidance of teachers like mine goals of higher education seem impossible to students from small rural areas. Lack of college academic recruiters make students feel unwelcomed to many universities. Lack of funding diminishes and destroys chances for extra academic opportunity and prosperity. Societal expectations and disbelief in personal endeavors make students feel that they should remain stagnant.
I know those facts to be true, because they are the stories that become an endless novel of people in towns similar to where I grew up. It is not that the rural area populous do not want to achieve higher education, it's the fact that regionalism prevents it from happening. Altogether, it seems like there is no one standing up for rural area students and schools.
Similar to how my former teachers believed in me, small rural schools and students across this nation need the same level of encouragement and confidence. Leading to the undeniable belief that students, no matter the location deserve the best education in pursuit of their biggest dreams.#
By Nancy Doolittle
Cornell Provost W. Kent Fuchs has been named the 12th president of the University of Florida, the UF board of trustees announced October 15. The appointment is subject to approval by the Florida Board of Governors. He is expected to begin his new position January 1.
Fuchs, who was appointed Cornell's chief academic officer in 2009, came to Cornell in 2002 as the Joseph Silbert Dean of the College of Engineering.
In a statement, Cornell President David Skorton said Fuchs leaves behind a legacy that "will be felt by all Cornellians, and by colleagues at other top research universities, for decades to come."
Known for his knowledge of Cornell, clarity of purpose and vision for the future, Fuchs became provost at the onset of the economic recession and helped the university find creative ways to hire and retain diverse, outstanding faculty, develop its new budget model and strategic plan, and establish the Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island, which, Skorton said, may be "Kent's greatest legacy as provost."
"Kent will bring to his new position a deep understanding of the issues, constituencies and avenues for collaborative action that are central to the life of a university," he said. "We will greatly miss his leadership, intellect and thoughtful, principled actions."
"Personally," Skorton continued, "I am excited for Kent and look forward to our continuing partnership as we each continue to contribute to the advancement of education and research at a national level."
"I am grateful to have had the opportunity to serve Cornell for the past 12 years," said Fuchs. "Cornell is a wonderful university with a marvelous history and glorious future."
In developing the strategic plan, "Reimagining Cornell," Fuchs led the effort to erase the university's $150 million deficit and, in his words, to make Cornell a leaner, stronger university by 2014. The plan included downsizing and restructuring the university, and developing a new budget model.
"This comprehensive change in Cornell's budget model is one of the most important initiatives impacting the university's future that I have been involved in during my tenure," Fuchs said when announcing the model in 2012. Cornell balanced its budget that July.
Both as dean and later as provost, Fuchs spearheaded efforts to increase diversity within the Cornell community. He recruited faculty of color and women faculty and increased student diversity at the College of Engineering, and supported the establishment of institutional diversity goals and accountability with the Toward New Destinations initiative.
Fuchs led these efforts to recruit diverse, outstanding faculty and students and renew its focus on high-priority academic areas at a time when Cornell's peers were less engaged in doing so, helping Cornell to increase its competitiveness and influence in the U.S. and internationally.
Looking at the growing impact of technology on higher education, in 2012 Fuchs appointed a massive open online course (MOOC) committee and approved its recommendation that the university encourage this technological advance in the delivery of education. Fuchs said Cornell is "committed to remaining in the forefront of educational innovation." The first four courses launched in early 2014.
Fuchs earned his B.S.E. from Duke University and his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois. In between, he earned his Master of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, an experience that he credits with reinforcing his lifetime focus on service to people.
Skorton plans to announce an interim provost by October 31.#
- Reprinted with permission of the Cornell Chronicle.