Advisory Council

Background and Mission

The Arts and Sciences Advisory Council is one of the eight original advisory bodies established by the Cornell Board of Trustees in 1962 with the original charge to advise and counsel the dean on broad matters of policy and planning within the college. The Council is made up of alumni leaders, parents, and friends. Members currently have four main roles: as advisors, advocates, ambassadors, and philanthropic supporters of the college and its mission: to provide a foundation in the liberal arts for all Cornell students and, within the college, to foster the intellectual curiosity that drives outstanding research, scholarship, and teaching in the liberal arts.

Membership Criteria, Selection and Nomination

Advisory Council members serve at the invitation of the dean. The A&S Advisory Council Membership Committee annually reviews nominations for membership and makes recommendations to the dean. Nominations are received from council members, representatives of other Cornell volunteer organizations, and staff. Invitations to join the Advisory Council recognize an individual's commitment to and support for the College of Arts and Sciences. Nominations are reviewed based on a combination of:

  • Demonstrated leadership and involvement in Cornell activities
  • Achievement of significant leadership role in business, profession, or vocation or in community, education, or charitable organizations
  • Demonstrated philanthropic support for the College of Arts and Sciences 

In making recommendations to the dean, the Membership Committee also reviews the composition of the current council, with the goal of having a council that represents the diversity of college's alumni and student body.

To nominate someone for council:

The next deadline will be in the Spring of 2021. Nominations received after the deadline will be reviewed the following year. This is a confidential process; please do not advise the candidate of his or her nomination. 

If you have questions about the nominations process, please contact

Member Responsibilities and Activities

What does membership entail? Council members have four main roles: as advisors to the dean, advocates, ambassadors, and philanthropic supporters of the College. 

  • Advisors: through discussions at the semi-annual council meetings and informally throughout the year, members serve as a sounding board for the dean and others, representing the standpoint of alumni, parents and friends whose perspective on Cornell reflects their engagements in the world at large.
  • Ambassadors:  as informed insiders, members serve as ambassadors for the college to other groups at Cornell, as well as in their business networks and home communities.
  • Advocates: members serve as advocates for the value of liberal arts education, and the essential, foundational role the College of Arts and Sciences plays within the University
  • Philanthropic supporters: All members are expected to make annual contributions to the College of Arts and Sciences Annual Fund, commensurate with their capacity; are encouraged to support other areas of the college and Cornell in keeping with their interests and ability; and are asked to support the fundraising priorities of the college by helping to identify and engage other supporters


Members serve a four-year term, which starts on July 1. Members may be invited to serve 3 consecutive terms. After 12 years, members must step down for a 1 year break in service, but are eligible to be nominated again after the hiatus.


As volunteer leaders, council members may participate in a variety of activities benefiting the college. A list of ways members may be involved includes: 

  • Attending and actively participating at the semi-annual meetings
  • Serving on select committees or task forces of the council
  • Meeting individually with the dean and/or other college representatives
  • Participating in career service activities, interacting with current Cornell students
  • Hosting or participating in college events that promote awareness of and interest in the college and its faculty, departments and programs.
  • Identifying and engaging other alumni, parents, and friends in a position to support the college's fundraising priorities.
  • Serving on other Cornell committees and groups, such as class and reunion committees, the President's Council of Cornell Women, University Council, the university's Major Gifts Committee and the Board of Trustees.
  • Personally supporting the College's annual fund and other campaign priorities, at a level commensurate with one's capacity.

Advisory Council Members

Advisory Council Emeritus Members

  • Robert Abrams `53
  • Ellen Adelson ’58
  • Helen Appel `55
  • Eleanor Applewhaite `59
  • Gary Davis ’76
  • Otto Doering III `62
  • Barbara Friedman `59
  • James Gibbs Jr `52
  • Blanche Goldenberg ’74
  • Keith Johnson `56
  • Albert Kaneb `60
  • Peter Knight ’73
  • Virginia Lindseth `56
  • Dorothy Litwin `57
  • Kevin McGovern '70
  • Ronay Menschel '64
  • Donald Opatrny ’74
  • Almeda Church (A.C.) Riley `58
  • Kenneth Riskind `59
  • John (Jack) Rupert `49
  • Burton Siegel `56
  • Roberta Silman '56
  • Patricia Stewart `50
  • James Stocker `51
  • Harold Tanner `52