Pursuant to the university bylaws, the Board of Trustees is vested with "supreme control" over the university, including all of its colleges and other units. Trustees have a fiduciary responsibility to the university as a whole. Among other responsibilities, the board elects the president, adopts an annual plan of financial operation, and establishes degrees to be awarded. Through the bylaws, day-to-day responsibility for administration of the university is delegated by the trustees to the president.
The Board of Trustees consists of 64 voting members. In addition to board-elected trustees, Cornell students, employees, faculty, and alumni elect individuals to serve on the board with full voting privileges. Four ex-officio members -- the president of the university, the governor of the state of New York, the speaker of the state assembly, and the president of the state senate -- also have voting privileges.
The full board meets three times a year in Ithaca (in March, May, and October) and once in New York City in January. Portions of these meetings are open to the public. Committees of the board convene prior to these meetings and as necessary at other times.
The Office of the Board of Trustees
The Office of the Board of Trustees is housed within the Office of University Counsel. James J. Mingle, in addition to serving as University Counsel, is also Secretary of the Corporation. The Secretary of the Corporation is responsible for the governance matters involving the Board of Trustees and is the official record keeper for the proceedings of the Board of Trustee meetings. On a day-to-day basis, much of the Trustee support is provided by Kristin D. MacHenry, Associate Secretary of the Corporation; and by Jennifer L. Cottrell, Administrative Coordinator for the Board of Trustees.
Ms. MacHenry's responsibilities as Associate Secretary include consultation with Mr. Mingle, the Senior Administration, and Board leadership regarding development of Board and Executive Committee agendas; staffing of the Board, Executive Committee, and Committee on Board Membership meetings; preparation of meeting minutes; and other activities related to Board procedures and record-keeping. Ms. Cottrell handles all logistical aspects of Board meetings, including preparation of the master meeting schedule (listing all Board and standing committee meetings, as well as other significant events that may be occurring), and tracking of Trustee travel arrangements and overnight accommodations.