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They're back, and this time they're trustees

Two Cornellians will arrive on campus this fall with high hopes, impressive peers and new responsibilities, but they're not wide-eyed freshmen.

They're trustees.

Gene Resnick

Gene D. Resnick, CALS '70, M.D. '74

Gene D. Resnick, CALS '70, M.D. '74, and Sheryl Hilliard Tucker, A&S '78, began four-year terms in July as the latest alumni-elected members of the Cornell Board of Trustees. Their first official meeting on campus will be in October, but they are already hard at work with committee responsibilities and the other duties of the job, which include reaching out to alumni, attending events and participating in university governance.

"It's daunting," Resnick says. "All of us who have been elected have been involved over the years. You think you know a lot of things that go on, but there's surely a lot to learn."

Resnick is chief medical officer for Averion International Corp., a leading clinical contract research organization that supports global clinical trials for pharmaceutical and biotech companies. Earlier in his career, he spent a decade as an assistant attending physician at Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York.

Resnick says he hopes to lend his perspective as a double-red alumnus, particularly when it comes to efforts to enhance collaboration between the Ithaca campus and Weill Cornell Medical College. Otherwise, he intends to spend at least a year gaining broad experience across the university board committees, getting to know the other trustees, and doing what he can to ensure the quality of the student experience.

Sheryl Hilliard Tucker

Sheryl Hilliard Tucker, A&S '78

"If we continue to make the student experience special, then I think the university will be successful," he says. "Each of us that have been through Cornell have a few things that we remember and that we'll always remember. For me, you can drill down to Lynah Rink, professors Louise Daniel and George Murphy, or playing rugby for the medical college team. The student experience really drives the tremendous enthusiasm that people who are away from the university for 40 years continue to have."

Tucker, a media consultant for TimeWarner and the former executive editor of Time Inc. (the parent company of Time, Fortune, Money, Sports Illustrated and Essence), says she is thrilled to return to campus as a trustee.

"It's a great honor, and it's an exciting time for the university with so many different things going on," she says. "I'm a person who likes to be part of something that's changing."

Tucker points to the ongoing "Reimagining Cornell" process as an opportunity to show the world "one Cornell" and to build the university's reputation. But she also recognizes that change can be difficult as it happens.

"Some of the biggest challenges you have when you're looking at improving and changing is to make sure you bring all the voices to bear into the process," she says. "I think that has been done through the various efforts overt the last couple of years. I hope as a communications person and as a journalist to be helpful in that way."

Both trustees stressed the role of alumni in the life of the university.

"Every opportunity that alumni have to come back to campus and interact with students is deeply appreciated. I encourage everyone to broaden their campus experience by visiting with students who are not in their colleges, sororities, fraternities, clubs or sports teams," Tucker says. "It's amazing when you invite people to be a part of the university how many people say 'yes.'"

Adds Resnick: "There are hundreds, if not thousands, of ways for alumni to engage. Those kinds of interactions make the university stronger in ways you can measure way beyond dollars and cents."

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