Alumni Affairs and Development Staff

Our team looks forward to hearing from you. For general inquiries, please contact:


Jennifer BestJennifer Best

Office Manager
Phone: 607-255-7635

Jennifer Best joined the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Alumni Affairs and Development team in 2014. Along with supporting the associate dean, Jennifer is responsible for planning and implementing the CALS Dean’s Advisory Council meetings, organizing the annual CALS TCAM Luncheon, and coordinating the AA&D travel for Dean Kathryn Boor. Prior to working at CALS, Jennifer worked at the Baker Institute for Animal Health in Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine as a Program and Research Coordinator. Jennifer graduated from Ithaca College in 2006 with a degree in Recreation Management with a focus on program planning. She is currently pursuing a degree in the Master of Industrial and Labor Relations (MILR) program at Cornell University, with a concentration in human resources and organizations. Jennifer currently resides in Ithaca, New York, where she enjoys hiking at the local parks and attending local festivals.

Sharon DetzerSharon Detzer

Associate Dean, Alumni Affairs and Development
Phone: 607-255-1915

Sharon Detzer is the associate dean of CALS Alumni Affairs and Development and has been with CALS since 2001. With more than 27 years of service in Cornell University Alumni Affairs and Development, she brings a wide range of experience to donors and assists them with their specific giving interests. Sharon also advises volunteer and alumni affairs initiatives. She graduated with a degree in business administration from Cayuga Community College and then transferred to Cornell/CALS, where she earned her degree in communication. Sharon was a Cornell Tradition Fellow as a student, and she personally values the philanthropy that donors provide in scholarships, annual fund, and endowment support. She grew up on a small dairy farm in the Finger Lakes region. She enjoys playing alto saxophone in two community bands.


Scott PesnerScott Pesner

Director of Engagement and Annual Fund
Phone: 607-255-0359

Scott Pesner, a 1987 graduate of CALS, joined the CALS Alumni Affairs and Development team in November 2016, working to connect alumni to each other and back to the college, as well as show their support through the Annual Fund. Scott joined CALS from Columbia University, where he was senior director, alumni relations, school-based relations, and prior to that, director of alumni affairs for the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs. Scott has spent his time as a Cornell alumnus as an active volunteer, having served as a vice president of the Cornell Alumni Association, a vice chair and membership chair of the Cornell University Council, co-General Chair of New York City CAAAN, and co-founder and past president of NYC Cornellians. He currently serves on the CAAAN Advisory Committee, Cornell MOSAIC,  and as a class officer. A New York City native, Scott is thrilled to be back home in Ithaca.

Ron Van OrmerRon Van Ormer

Major Gifts Officer
Phone: 607-255-7833

Ron Van Ormer joined the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences staff in 2011 as a major gifts officer. He works with CALS alumni in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota and California. He has more than 15 years of experience in higher education development at Thunderbird-Graduate School of International Management, Rocky Mountain PBS, University of Denver, and Alfred University. He was raised in nearby Cazenovia, New York and currently resides in Brooktondale, New York with his wife and two children.

Kristine Lange

Administrative Assistant
Phone: 607-255-8711

Patty Weldon

Development Assistant
Phone: 607-255-7652