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By Jenny Stockdale

As Kathryn J. Boor ’80, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean, completes her second and final term, CALS alumni, parents and friends have raised more than $1.1 million in recognition funds that will continue to support the top priorities from her deanship. Thanks to three established funds — all of which are still actively accepting gifts — this support will bolster experiential learning opportunities and new initiatives for both students and faculty.

A number of gifts were made to name the Roberts Hall plaza, located on the west end of the Ag Quad, after Boor. The gifts established a new dean’s discretionary endowment fund that will allow future deans to invest in the college’s top priorities, including faculty hiring and retention, student scholarship, active learning programs and other emerging opportunities.

John Dyson ’65, chairman of Millbrook Capital Management and a longstanding member of the CALS Advisory Council, was a lead donor for this fund. He acknowledged Boor’s work to recruit and retain top academic talent, including hiring more than 130 new faculty.

“One of the most remarkable things she has done as dean is to maintain the quality and number of first-rate professors we have,” Dyson said. “This discretionary fund will give future CALS deans more flexibility to support our faculty and students alike.”

Dyson has also worked closely with Boor on other college priorities, including the $9.6 million Ag Quad renovation completed in 2017.

“It’s truly fitting for her name to have a permanent home on our beautiful community space,” he said. “Among the great experiences I’ve had with Kathryn during her deanship, redesigning and rebuilding the Ag Quad — and making it the envy of the campus — was definitely a highlight.”

The Kathryn J. Boor Experiential Learning Fund was established by Scott ’86 and Lisa Braunstein in 2017 to support undergraduate and graduate student experiences. Later that year, they renamed the fund in honor of Boor, and this year they invited other alumni and friends to make their own gifts to this endowment in celebration of Boor’s final year as dean.

The Braunsteins recognized that many students require additional financial support for certain academic opportunities, so they partnered with the CALS Alumni Association to develop this experiential learning and need-based grant program.

“Kathryn was a wonderful partner to develop this fund with — helping to align our goals to support students’ needs and interests,” Scott Braunstein said. “We saw a high demand and a high quality of applicants, so Lisa and I saw the opportunity to help the program survive in perpetuity. It seemed a perfect fit to name the experiential learning fund after Kathryn, given her tireless dedication to student success.”

Supplying at least $25,000 in annual funding to 25 - 50 students, the fund supports internships, academic research, leadership and professional development programs, conferences, travel, events and extension activities that foster engagement and outreach.

The Kathryn J. Boor Scholarship — a third fund to honor Boor’s legacy — will support students who experience financial needs. With preference given to first-generation students, this scholarship will provide access to educational opportunities for young academic talent, regardless of their economic circumstances.

Providing student scholarships is one of the college’s top funding priorities, as more than 50% of CALS students receive financial aid. Of the incoming freshmen, including those in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, 23% of the CALS Class of 2023 are the first in their families to attend college.

Boor, who received notice of these recognition funds in June, expressed her appreciation for this generous support.

“The establishment of these funds will serve our students and faculty for years to come, and I am very grateful for the generosity of our CALS alumni and friends who have made all these opportunities possible,” Boor said. “It’s gratifying to know that these efforts will help build more meaningful experiences for members of our CALS community.”  

On June 8, Cornell Provost Michael Kotlikoff announced that Boor will become the dean of the Graduate School and the vice provost for graduate education, where her leadership will continue to bolster the Cornell community. Her term will begin when her successor at CALS is in place and will run through June 30, 2025.

Celebrate Kathryn J. Boor's decade of impact.

Header image: A view from the Ag Quad of Roberts Hall Plaza, soon to be named after Kathryn J. Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean. Photo provided

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