Four outstanding students from the Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy are the inaugural recipients of the John Siliciano Award. Shortly after commencement ceremonies at Bailey Hall, the four recipients met the award's namesake: (l-r) Jefferson Akers, Craig Spencer Schulman, Siliciano, Omotoyosi Ibukunoluwa Ayanwola, Andrew Siyan Wen. 

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New endowment honors John Siliciano and recognizes outstanding Brooks School students

Four new graduates are the first recipients of the Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy’s endowed John Siliciano Student Leadership Award, which will annually recognize exceptional academic excellence and leadership.

Deputy Provost John Siliciano ’75 is stepping aside from his current position after over 18 years of service to the university. He played a critical role in founding the policy school including shepherding a multi-year planning process and leading the recruitment of the school’s founding dean.

“We will forever be grateful to Deputy Provost Siliciano for his tremendous behind-the-scenes work to establish the school on a strong foundation,” said Brooks School Dean Colleen Barry.

The awards were announced, and the recipients honored at the first commencement for the school, held May 28 in Bailey Hall.

“Starting this year, the Siliciano Award will recognize graduating undergraduate and graduate Brooks School students who display leadership through stellar academic achievement, public engagement and distinguished service to the university,” said Senior Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Maria Fitzpatrick.

The recipients of the Siliciano Award include:

  • Omotoyosi Ibukunoluwa Ayanwola ’22, a health care policy major.
  • Craig Spencer Schulman ’22, a policy analysis and management major.
  • Jefferson Akers, MHA ’22, a graduate of the Sloan Program in Health Administration.
  • Andrew Siyan Wen MPA ’22, a graduate of the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs (CIPA).

Siliciano greeted each of the recipients at a post-commencement reception on a historic graduation day for the Brooks School. The inaugural commencement marked the culmination of efforts of university leaders including President Martha Pollack, Provost Michael Kotlikoff, Siliciano and others to launch the school, more than 40 years in the making.

“Deputy Provost Siliciano’s vision and determination have helped set the Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy on a course for long term success and impact,” Kotlikoff said. “It is fitting that this award to outstanding students will serve as a lasting tribute to all that he has given and achieved.”

In 2007, Siliciano oversaw a review of the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs and its potential to grow into a cornerstone of a public policy school. In 2020, he was a member of the School of Public Policy Committee, charged by Kotlikoff to develop a blueprint and timeline for the creation of the Cornell School of Public Policy, later to be named the Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy. Siliciano co-chaired the 13-member search team that selected Barry to serve as the founding dean.

In addition to his leadership service at Cornell, Siliciano is a member of the faculty of the Cornell Law School and is a national authority on torts and products liability. He served as Associate Dean of the Law School from 1997-2000, Vice Dean from 2000-2003 and Interim Dean in 2004, before becoming the Vice Provost.

Siliciano graduated summa cum laude in history in 1975 and earned an MPA at Princeton and a JD at Columbia University in 1979. He was editor-in-chief of the Columbia Law Review. He went on to clerk for Chief Judge Wilfred Feinberg of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and for Justice Thurgood Marshall on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Jim Hanchett is assistant dean of communications in the Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy.

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