Arts & Sciences launches Future Faculty Initiative

Martha E. Pollack, Barton Winokur, Susan Winokur, Gretchen Ritter and Michael Kotlikoff
Robert Barker/University Photography
From left, President Martha E. Pollack, Barton Winokur '61, Susan Winokur '61, Gretchen Ritter ’83, the Harold Tanner Dean of Arts and Sciences, and Provost Michael Kotlikoff.

A $10 million challenge gift from Barton and Susan Winokur, both Class of ’61, is helping to launch a new fundraising campaign in the College of Arts and Sciences that will support the creation of 15-25 new endowed positions within the college over the next two years.

The Arts and Sciences Future Faculty Initiative will enable the college to replace retiring faculty, retain stellar junior faculty, and recruit midcareer and senior faculty to provide leadership in areas of strategic importance. It will also provide funding to recruit top postdoctoral and graduate students.

“Outstanding teaching and discovery are traditions we need to keep strong; they require us to continue, and accelerate, our investments in recruiting and retaining extraordinary faculty,” said Cornell President Martha E. Pollack. “The Future Faculty challenge is a wonderful boost for the College of Arts and Sciences – our largest college – and will focus attention on the important role that the college plays in the education of undergraduates from across the university, as well as the world-class scholarship it produces.”

According to Gretchen Ritter ’83, the Harold Tanner Dean of Arts and Sciences, the Future Faculty Initiative aims to move more of the college’s departments into top-ranked positions in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and mathematics.

“The strength of our faculty is paramount not only to the future success of the college, but also for the stature of this world-class research university,” said Ritter. “Bart and Susan Winokur have been great partners in helping the college establish this initiative to ensure continued excellence and enable us to focus on strategic opportunities for academic growth. I am forever thankful for all that the Winokurs have done for Cornell.”

Some of the multidisciplinary areas where faculty growth will be particularly essential in the coming years include nanoscale science, behavioral economics, sustainability and media studies, as well as emerging research areas in the social sciences, sciences, arts and humanities, Ritter said.

The Winokurs’ challenge gift will provide matching funds for other donors who want to support the $40 million initiative. As of the announcement of this match, two donors have already committed to endowments in Jewish history and computational social science.

“The Future Faculty Initiative is a key priority for the university, and I am committed to collaborating with the college to identify and secure the resources to support its success,” said Provost Michael Kotlikoff. “We are so very grateful that Bart and Susan are stepping forward at this critical time. Their gift, and the gifts it encourages from others, will create a solid foundation for the recruitment and retention of top faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences.”

“We strongly believe that an exceptional College of Arts and Sciences is critical to an exceptional Cornell – and an exceptional faculty is the key to a great college,” said Bart Winokur. “We wanted to ensure that our commitment would incentivize others to maximize their support for strengthening faculty in Arts and Sciences. It is an honor and privilege to partner with Gretchen, Mike and Martha to jump-start this effort.”

Barton Winokur is a vice chair of the Cornell Board of Trustees and a member of the Arts and Sciences Advisory Council, where he previously served as chair. He is a corporate partner of Dechert LLP, an international law firm he joined in 1965 and for which he served as chair and CEO for 15 years before stepping down in 2011. Susan Sternblitz Winokur graduated from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and was the recipient of a National Science Foundation grant in teaching and science. She was a science and mathematics educator, and has owned and been the principal teacher of the Class Cooking culinary school in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, for the last 25 years; all net proceeds from classes are donated to charity.

The Winokurs established the Winokur Family Scholarship Fund in 1999, as well as the Susan and Barton Winokur Professorship in the Humanities in 2010. Their support was instrumental for the building of Klarman Hall and the establishment of the Posse program in the College of Arts and Sciences.

“Our contribution to the Future Faculty Initiative is a commitment to Arts and Sciences,” said Susan Winokur. “Our goal is to secure its vitality and excellence for generations to come.”

Tricia Barry is communications director and Kathy Hovis is a writer for the College of Arts and Sciences.

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