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Hunter and Eliot

While Andy has already posted that Spitzer has appointed Hunter Rawlings to his transition team, it also appears that a Cornell trustee -- Elizabeth Moore '75, has also been appointed to the team as well.

Very good news for New York state, as well as Cornell. And as a born and raised (Upstate) New Yorker and Cornellian, I can't help but elaborate on this good news. Why? Three reasons.

First, it will help to focus Mr. Spitzer on more than just New York City and downstate exurbs. Upstate is hurting, and Hunter can make certain that Spitzer knows about the suffocating tax and regulatory environment that may be okay for downstate, but not for Upstate (which might as well be Wisconsin or Ohio).

Second, it will ensure that the Spitzer administration will focus on higher education as a key economic development tool as Upstate transitions to a post-industrial economy. From Buffalo to Troy, Upstate is blessed with wonderful institutions of both public and private higher education, and they are unfortunately not leveraged to their full potential. Instead, tens of thousands of young people who are educated in New York state leave New York every year for lack of well-paying jobs. Meanwhile, college tuition continues to escalate out of control.

Finally, it will strengthen Cornell's relationship with New York state for the duration of the Spitzer administration and beyond. People often overlook how important Cornell's history with the state has been in the rise and continued success of the University. Indeed, the state gave $160 million dollars to Cornell last year (excluding funds for capital projects), an amount equivalent to what an extra $4 billion dollars in endowment would bring to the University.

Spitzer is Princeton and Harvard educated, but that can't stop him from being a supporter of the Big Red. In fact, he will have to be if Cornell has any intention of achieving its goals for the sesquicentennial.

Matthew Nagowski | Posted on November 09, 2006 (#)

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