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The modern President’s Council

If there was one uniform comment on Les Garner’s management style, it was that he is a delegator. He surrounds himself with intelligent people he trusts and respects and lets them do their job. As such, the President’s Council, made up of the vice president of each division, the director of athletics, and the special assistant to the president, has been incredibly important to the Garner presidency. Here’s a quick look at the modern President’s Council.

Jim Brown, Special Assistant to the President

Jim Brown is a former faculty member in psychology who has served in a number of positions since arriving on campus in 1990. He spent several years as associate dean of the college and director of Institutional Research and provided interim leadership in the Registrar’s Office and Information Technology before taking root in the President’s Office four years ago. Brown’s responsibilities are wide-ranging and generally involve day-to-day duties of the President’s Office.

Jim Brown

Chris Carlson, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the College

Chris Carlson is in his second year as vice president for academic affairs after a short-lived retirement from teaching. For nearly 30 years Carlson was a sociology professor at Cornell and served as faculty director of first-year programs and advising. He has worked at Cornell longer than anyone else on the council. He is head of academic programs at Cornell and will step down when a national search for a dean is complete in 2010.

Chris Carlson

John Cochrane, Director of Athletics

A recent addition to the council, John Cochrane came to Cornell by way of the Iowa Conference in the spring of 2008. As Iowa Conference commissioner, Cochrane had a with strong knowledge of Cornell and an established working relationship with Les Garner. Cochrane runs athletic programs.

John Cochrane

John Harp, Vice President for Student Affairs

John Harp has worked at Cornell since 1995 when he was hired as assistant dean of students. In 2000, after the retirement of Joan Claar, Harp took over as vice president for student affairs. Harp is principally responsible for the student experience and life on campus.

John Harp

Karen Mercer, Vice President for Business Affairs and Treasurer

Karen Mercer is the newest member of the President’s Council, joining the group as vice president of business affairs and treasurer in the fall of 2008. Mercer was formerly a consultant vice president of business and administrative services for Graceland University for three years. She manages the college’s finances, business office, and facilities, among other duties.

Karen Mercer

Jonathan Stroud, Vice President for Enrollment and Dean of Admission

Jonathan Stroud joined Cornell in the summer of 2002 and has helped turn the admission program into one of Cornell’s strengths. As vice president for enrollment and dean of admission, it has been Stroud’s job to increase and improve the applicant pool, as well as help provide a solid financial package for students who do choose Cornell.

Jonathan Stroud

Peter Wilch, Vice President for Alumni and College Advancement

Peter Wilch is a 1994 Cornell graduate who has worked in higher education advancement at Grinnell and the University of Iowa. Since returning in 2006 to take over Cornell’s fundraising, alumni, and communication offices, Wilch has helped guide several of the biggest fundraising years in Cornell’s history, as well as Extraordinary Opportunities, the largest campaign in the college’s history.

Peter Wilch
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