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Sesquicentennial Faculty Fellows initiative seeds faculty

Yimon Aye

Sesquicentennial Faculty Fellow Yimon Aye. See larger image

Austin Bunn

Sesquicentennial Faculty Fellow Austin Bunn. See larger image

Eve DeRosa

Sesquicentennial Faculty Fellow Eve DeRosa. See larger image

"One of the most valuable aspects of the faculty fellowships," explains Amy Villarejo, who chairs the Department of Performing and Media Arts, "is that they help us to communicate to our alumni and to the public the extraordinary talents of our faculty. It's a platform for showing our treasures off, in a climate in which we are mostly absorbed with day-to-day research, artistic work and teaching."

The faculty is the treasure of the university: Professors set the pace in almost every respect, through what they choose to study and with whom, what they teach in the classroom and how, and through their service and mentorship. The faculty is, understandably, also one of the most expensive lines on the annual budget; hiring the next generation of professors while many baby boom-generation faculty are still fully ensconced would be prohibitively expensive without help from donors.

To help solve this problem, in 2010 President David Skorton announced the launch of the Sesquicentennial Faculty Fellows campaign, the aim of which is to provide short-term gap funding to hire 100 junior and midcareer professors while existing faculty lines were still occupied by senior professors. The campaign was partly the brainchild of trustee David Croll '70, who himself has made gifts to establish four Sesquicentennial Faculty Fellows at Cornell.

"The Sesquicentennial Faculty Fellowships program is a tremendously valuable resource," reports Eduardo M. Peñalver '94, the Allan R. Tessler Dean of the Law School. "The fellowships nurture today's 'junior faculty,'" Peñalver says, "so that they can become tomorrow's academic superstars."

Those future superstars include Austin Bunn in the performing and media arts department. Villarejo says that Bunn's sesquicentennial title helps the department showcase him to alumni and friends: "They have learned about his first feature film, 'Kill Your Darlings,' which starred 'Harry Potter' himself, Daniel Radcliffe, and was picked up for distribution by Sony. … Students clamor for Austin's classes, and they appreciate his constant efforts to connect them with screenwriters and industry professionals, from whom they can learn in Skype chats and informal discussions."

So far, more than 50 donors have established 71 fellowships, at $500,000 each. The fellowship campaign, originally scheduled to end Dec. 31, 2015, may be extended into 2016.

– Emily Sanders Hopkins

Change of leadership for Alumni Affairs and Development

Jeffrey McCarthy

Jeffrey McCarthy. See larger image

Charlie Phlegar and daughter at a Cornell event

Charlie Phlegar and daughter at a Cornell event. See larger image

Charlie Phlegart.

Charlie Phlegar. See larger image

After nine years leading the university's fundraising and alumni affairs programs, Vice President Charlie Phlegar announced in April that he would leave Cornell to become vice president for advancement at his beloved alma mater, Virginia Tech.

Phlegar leaves an impressive legacy: Since his arrival in 2006, Cornell has more than doubled its fundraising on the way to completing, in December 2015, the nation's third-largest university capital campaign and is consistently ranked as one of the top programs worldwide. During Phlegar's tenure Cornell has secured funding for Cornell Tech, Klarman Hall, Gates Hall, Gannett Health Services, the Sesquicentennial Commemorative Grove, the athletic match initiative, greatly increased need-based financial aid and the faculty renewal program.

Serving as interim VP during the search period will be AAD Associate Vice President Jeffrey McCarthy, who first joined the division in 1990 and has led the Office of Principal Gifts since 1998 and served on the core senior leadership team since 2006.

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