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Stephen Ashley recognized for alumni service

By Krisy Gashler
periodiCALS, Vol. 6, Issue 2, 2016

Stephen B. AshleyStephen B. Ashley ’62, MBA ’64, served on Cornell’s board of trustees for 16 years and as a co-chair of the Far Above capital campaign for ten years, and this is his 45th consecutive year serving on the University Council. In recognition of his decades of service to Cornell, Ashley was chosen as one of this year’s recipients of the Frank H.T. Rhodes Exemplary Alumni Service Award, the university’s highest award for alumni service.

“Cornell gave me not only a professional life, but a personal life, too,” Ashley said. He met his wife, Janice, at Cornell, and the couple were married in Anabel Taylor Chapel. “There’s no way that I could give back to Cornell what Cornell has enabled me to do. Cornell was really the foundation for whatever successes I’ve had in life.”

Serving as a co-chair of the capital campaign was an especially meaningful service opportunity, Ashley said. The campaign raised $6.3 billion for Cornell and enabled, among other things, new faculty endowments, increased financial aid for students and new construction, including Cornell Tech in New York City. 

“Those are transforming initiatives for the university, and to have played a tiny, tiny part in seeing them come to fruition is just very rewarding,” Ashley said. 

Susan Henry, professor of molecular biology and genetics, served as dean of CALS from 2000–2010, during part of Ashley’s time on the board of trustees.

“He is a very astute person, very calm and rational, and at the same time, very human. He has a wonderful sense of humor,” Henry said. “He is a person who brings people together—across campus, rural stakeholders, government officials and business officials at the highest levels—in a way that leads to effective decision making.”

Ashley is chairman and CEO of The Ashley Companies, a Rochester-based firm specializing in property management and real estate investment.