New trustees elected and returning trustees re-elected to Cornell board
By Joe Wilensky
At its May 25 meeting, the Cornell Board of Trustees elected seven new trustees to four-year terms: Peter R. Call ’79; Mary Armstrong Meduski ’80; Howard L. Morgan, Ph.D. ’68; Rebecca (Beckie) Robertson ’82; Stephen C. Robinson ’81, J.D. ’84; Susan C. Schnabel ’83; and Enrique J. Vila-Biaggi ’94, M.Eng. ’95.
Additionally, James T. “JT” Baker ’21 was elected as a new trustee for a two-year term, representing the undergraduate student body.
They join recent alumni-elected trustees Cynthia A. Cuffie ’74 and Lorette Simon Gross ’89, MBA ’90, who will serve four-year terms, and undergraduate student-elected trustee Jaewon Sim ’21, who was elected to a two-year term.
The new trustees’ terms begin July 1.
Also at the May 25 meeting, four current trustees were re-elected to four-year terms: Douglas L. Braunstein ’83, David M. Einhorn ’91, Stephanie Keene Fox ’89 and Mary John Miller ’77.
Profiles of the newly elected trustees:
Baker is a rising junior in the School of Hotel Administration (SHA) with a minor in real estate. He is a student ambassador for hotel school students in the Cornell Minority Business Association and a member of the dean’s advisory board. One of his aims is to improve diversity and inclusion within SHA and is planning a unique business summit for all students to learn from minority industry leaders. He also is a defensive back for the Big Red football team. He plans to pursue an MBA and a career in real estate development and investment after completing his degree.
Call, a board-elected trustee from the field of agriculture, is president of My-T Acres Inc., a vegetable and grain farm in western New York. He is a member of the Cornell University Council and a past member of the Advisory Council for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Cornell AgriTech in Geneva, New York. He also is a member of the boards of Farm Credit East, Seneca Foods and United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia, New York. He served as a trustee of Genesee Community College from 2013-19.
Cuffie is an executive coach who works with professionals and students, following her retirement as vice president for global clinical development, cardiovascular diseases, at Merck and Co. There she led global teams to develop new drug therapies for a broad range of diseases. A physician and endocrinologist, she previously worked at Schering-Plough Corp., where she held several senior executive positions. At Cornell, she has held leadership positions for the Cornell Black Alumni Association, the College of Human Ecology, Cornell Mosaic, the President’s Council of Cornell Women, the Cornell University Council and the Class of 1974.
Simon Gross began her career at global advertising agency D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles and continued her career at Dailey & Associates. She is a board member and president of Women’s Guild Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and also has held volunteer and leadership positions at Harvard-Westlake and Curtis Schools. For Cornell, she has served on the Cornell University Council, the Department of Communication Advisory Council, the Class of 1989 Annual Fund and the Parents Committee. She is co-chairing the Class of 1989’s 30th reunion campaign, as she did for its 25th.
Meduski is president and chief financial officer (CFO) of TierPoint, a national provider of information technology and data center services, and is on the company’s board of directors. She also serves as president and CFO of Cequel III, TierPoint’s management company. Meduski has nearly 30 years of financial and operating experience in the media, telecommunications and technology industries. Prior to joining TierPoint, she served as executive vice president and CFO of Suddenlink Communications. For Cornell, she is a member of the College of Arts and Sciences Advisory Council; the President’s Council of Cornell Women; and the Arts and Sciences Career Connections Committee’s finance and media teams.
Morgan is the chairman of B Capital Group, New York, a venture capital fund that seeks to back entrepreneurs building the next generation of groundbreaking technology companies. He also was a co-founder of First Round Capital, a seed stage venture capital firm established in 2004 from which he retired in 2017. He has more than 30 years of experience with more than 200 high-tech entrepreneurial ventures. At the University of Pennsylvania, Morgan was professor of decision sciences at the Wharton School and professor of computer science from 1972-85 at the Moore School. For Cornell, he is a member of the College of Engineering Advisory Council.
Robertson is co-founder and managing director at Versant Ventures, a health care investment firm, where she specializes in early-stage investing in medical devices and diagnostics. She has 25 years of venture capital and operating experience in medical products as an engineer, entrepreneur, corporate executive and investor. In addition, through Longridge Business Advisors, she provides business advisory and board services for both private and public companies. She also has held senior management positions in operations and finance at Lifescan, a Johnson & Johnson Company. For Cornell, she has served on the Biomedical Engineering Advisory Council, the McGovern Center for Venture Development in the Life Sciences Advisory Council, the College of Engineering Advisory Council and is active with the Cornell Silicon Valley Advisors.
Robinson has been a partner at the international law firm Skadden Arps since 2010. He previously served as a federal judge for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, nominated by President George W. Bush in 2003. Previously he was the U.S. Attorney in Connecticut, nominated by President Bill Clinton. He currently serves as co-chair of Skadden’s global diversity committee, and is a member of the Skadden Fellowship Program Advisory Board. For Cornell, Robinson serves on the Law School’s Advisory Council and Alumni Clerkship Committee and has been a featured speaker at several Law School events. He has served three terms as a member of the Cornell University Council.
Schnabel is an entrepreneur and co-managing partner and co-founder at aPriori Capital Partners, an independent leveraged buyout fund advisor. Previously, she worked at Credit Suisse as a managing director in asset management and was co-head of DLJ Merchant Banking Partners while also serving on its investment committee. Prior to that, she was managing director at DLJ and also served as CFO of PETsMART. Schnabel has been supportive of low-income women interested in STEM studies at Cornell, and also has been a champion of Cornell on the West Coast. She is a member of the Cornell University Council and the President’s Council of Cornell Women.
Sim is a computer science major and a law and society minor in the College of Arts and Sciences. Before entering Cornell, Sim spent the first 19 years of his life in four countries: Indonesia, China, South Korea and the United States. Sim has served on the Student Assembly since his freshman year, as the vice president of internal operations and the vice president of external affairs. He chaired the Student Assembly’s executive cabinet and the recently established Committee on IT Governance. He is an active member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity and the International Students Union. Sim is an iOS mobile app developer in Cornell AppDev, an engineering project team member and a teaching assistant for CS 1998: Introduction to iOS Development.
Vila-Biaggi is president and CEO of IEDIFIKO, Inc., a building and facilities management company in his native San Juan, Puerto Rico. He also is executive vice president of Professional Offices Park and COO of the Spiritree Forest Company. Vila-Biaggi began his career managing re-engineering projects for multinational corporations at Andersen Consulting (now known as Accenture) in Miami, Florida. Vila-Biaggi is actively involved in his community, serving as the president of the board of directors for Niños Nueva Esperanza (The New Hope for Children Center). For Cornell, Vila-Biaggi, along with the Cornell Alumni Admissions Ambassador Network (CAAAN), helped rebuild the Cornell Club of Puerto Rico alumni group, successfully recruiting increasing numbers of students from the island and creating a thriving community for them on campus. He also has served as co-chair of the Cornell Club of Puerto Rico Scholarship Committee, chair of the CAAAN Advisory Committee, and most recently, as chair of the Cornell University Council (2016-18).