Skip to main content


Fox '89 and Poe '82 are new alumni-elected trustees

Stephanie Fox

Stephanie Fox '89

Cornell alumni have elected Stephanie Fox '89 and Jonathan Poe '82 as new alumni-elected members of the Cornell University Board of Trustees. More than 20,000 alumni voted using online and paper ballots in the 2015 election.

Poe and Fox will begin their four-year terms July 1.

"It is a great honor to be elected," Fox said following the March 31 announcement of her win. "I want to make sure I make a meaningful contribution. In order to do that, I first need to listen and learn."

Poe plans to do a lot of listening, as well.

"I want to take a thoughtful approach," he said. For his first year on the board, he plans to pay close attention to senior board members and to Cornell President-elect Elizabeth Garrett, who will take office the same day.

Jonathan Poe

Jonathan Poe '82

Fox, a retired vice president of information systems and technology at Bank One (now JP Morgan Chase,) learned to adapt to and grow through change in her corporate roles. She sees this as a time of change for the university, with new leaders coming into key positions: "A huge opportunity to see things with fresh eyes."

An active alumni volunteer and leader since the early 1990s, Fox said Cornell needs to engage more alumni, particularly through more than 800 existing alumni groups and with students. "I see students as alumni-in-training," she said. As immediate past president of the Cornell Alumni Association and a member of that board since 2000, and as the current chair of alumnae engagement for the President's Council of Cornell Women (PCCW), Fox says she brings a strong understanding of the alumni perspective to the board of trustees.

She lives in Winnetka, Illinois, with her husband, Pat, and four children.

Poe, a sales director for Cisco Systems in San Jose, California, feels he brings diverse perspectives to the board of trustees.

A longtime California resident, he looks forward to leveraging alumni connections, goodwill and the energy of Cornell's sesquicentennial year.

As a student, Poe never dreamed he'd be a trustee. "There are people who gravitate toward the political process, and I'm not one of them," he said. He was, however, selected for his leadership potential as a student when he was named a Cornell National Scholar (now Meinig National Scholar).

He has served Cornell in leadership capacities for more than 35 years: on the Cornell University Council, Cornell Alumni Association, Cornell Engineering Alumni Association and others. Poe and his wife, Anne Vitullo '77, live in Menlo Park, California, and are active Cornell Tradition Scholarship supporters.

The Cornell Board of Trustees, which is vested with "supreme control" over the university, consists of 64 voting members, eight who are alumni-elected trustees.

Each year, two alumni trustees are elected to serve four-year terms. Cornell is one of the few major universities that offer its alumni an opportunity to elect trustees, said Steven Flyer, J.D. '91, chair of the committee on alumni trustee elections.

"We have, as alumni, the ability to have a voice," he said. "That's very important."

The most obvious way to take advantage of this is to vote, he said. He also encourages alumni to vote every year and to nominate qualified candidates.

Nominations for 2016 alumni-elected trustee candidates opened Jan. 31 and closed April 13; elections for 2015 and nominations for 2016 run approximately the same time period. Nominations are vetted at a May subcommittee meeting. A group of select candidates is reviewed by the nominations committee beginning in September and the slate is finalized in November in time for the January election.

Good candidates demonstrate leadership skills, commitment to Cornell, good judgment and other characteristics (which are detailed on the alumni trustee website, where the online nomination form also is located).

"It gives alumni a voice not only to shape the ballot, but to shape the future of the university," Flyer said.

Back to top