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A Decade of Leadership: In Other Words

A number of people who have worked closely with Dean Susan A. Henry, and/or observed her leadership through their many interactions with her, reflect on her tenure as Dean. Their comments best describe the impact she has made as the twelfth dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The following remarks were made during the Outstanding Alumni Awards Dinner, on November 14, 2009, when Dean Henry was honored as “Outstanding Dean.”

“Susan Henry is a person of enormous vision, courage, and integrity, who has led the College to greater excellence through challenging circumstances. Throughout her demanding role, she has remained engaged in her research in molecular biology and with students, for whom she has been an outstanding mentor. She is one of a kind and has served Cornell with impressive dedication.”

“Susan Henry has raised the bar for deanship performance at Cornell. She has kept the interests of the agricultural community in New York State foremost in her thinking regarding the mission of the college. She has embraced the alumni of the college with genuineness, good humor, and a willingness to listen that has endeared her to all.”  

“Dean Henry is the model dean. She is the ultimate team player. She will lobby to support another Cornell college’s interests because she believes in Cornell. In government work it seems one must, at times, kiss a few toads, but Susan does that kissing gracefully, direct and with good humor.”

“Susan was one of the first colleagues I met when I came to Cornell. She was very helpful to me and especially welcoming. I always enjoyed her collaborative style and willingness to address difficult situations. When I became provost, my respect for and admiration of Susan grew, and continues to grow, to new heights. I am so pleased that the alumni have chosen to recognize Susan.”

“Susan Henry has been wonderful for CALS. The entire university realizes through Susan that the college is a major contributor to the excellent reputation of the university. From inside Roberts Hall, it's clear that Susan works tirelessly for the college -- working excruciatingly long hours. From the beginning, she has recognized the wonderful partnership that CALS has with the agriculture industry in New York and she has fostered that relationship much to the benefit of agriculture in New York and also to the benefit of the college.” 

“I have greatly appreciated Dean Henry’s determination and candor in her leadership. I remember her first meeting with the New York Farm Bureau Board (she had just arrived on campus and left Peter home to unpack!). From that meeting, a strong working relationship developed. I thank Dean Susan Henry for her leadership skills in keeping the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences number one.”

 “Coming out of the chute, Dean Henry made a commitment to support the Land Grant mission of the college.  She disarmed an otherwise skeptical group of agricultural leaders by being available, direct, and otherwise supportive of their various causes. Through her leadership and the generosity of key alumni leaders, Warren Hall has once again become of model of academic excellence with the accreditation of the business program. It has been a real honor to watch her leadership in action.”

“Susan Henry is a terrific Dean.  She has the unique ability to effectively communicate with stakeholders across the whole spectrum; including basic researchers, farmers, consumers and lawmakers.  She has done CALS and Cornell University proud during her tenure as Dean.”

“Susan's outstanding leadership has made a lasting positive impact on both CALS and Cornell. She has strengthened our position as a global leader in agriculture. Importantly, Susan has made CALS’ Land Grant mission inspirational and relevant for today. I respect Susan for her intelligence, decisiveness, candor, and tenacity. I admire Susan for always keeping her family and her marriage in the forefront. She is a proud wife and mother, a giddy grandmother, and a lovely friend.”

 “Susan Henry never flinched.  Even with the tough times, she was always optimistic and sure we could find the right path for CALS.  Indeed, she did over and over again. It has been my privilege to work closely with all the Deans over the last 30 years. When the history is written, I am sure she will rank in the handful that comprise the top group.”

“Working with Susan over the past 22 years has been an enriching experience, both professionally and personally. I’ve never been associated with anyone at her level who has such tireless devotion. Susan's dedication to the institution, the college, and the land-grant mission is unmatched. Having the opportunity to work beside her for these many years has been a privilege.”

The following statements were made at the New York State Agricultural Society Meeting in Liverpool, NY on January 7, 2010, when Dean Henry was honored .

“On behalf of Governor Paterson and all New Yorkers, I want to thank Susan Henry for her outstanding leadership as Dean of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell. For nearly a decade, she has guided students and faculty alike to explore a world of science and nature with limitless possibilities and opportunities. At the same time, however, she remained dedicated to the Land Grant mission. As Commissioner, I have been very fortunate to work with Dean Henry on a number of issues and projects. I have been very proud to have her as a partner because she is sincerely concerned about the people and the future of New York State – especially our farmers and rural communities. Agriculture, New York State and in fact, the world is better off because Susan Henry has been our Dean.”

“I had the honor to be on the alumni interview team, chaired by Nathan L. Rudgers ’82, during the last CALS Dean’s search. I know I speak for all of us on the alumni interview team when I say we were quite impressed with Susan. Over the years, I have personally gotten to know Susan thru my leadership on the CALS Alumni Association Board of Directors. I was very pleased to work with her and even more amazed that she could do all that she did! This included conducting research in her lab, being a strong advocate and voice for the College,  in addition to her countless duties as Dean overseeing a large and complex college. I also had the pleasure of introducing Susan to several CALS students whom she immediately took under her wing. She was very persuasive in getting undergraduates to do research and enjoys her interactions with all students. I want to conclude by thanking Dean Susan Henry for her extraordinary leadership of the College and wishing her well in all future endeavors.”