During the weekend of June 8th, Cornell University held its annual Reunion. This past Reunion featured over 500 events including academic lectures and outdoor activities. A highlight event during Reunion weekend was a tour of eHub at 409 College Ave., a new 10,000 sq. ft. entrepreneurship collaboration space developed in a partnership between Student Agencies Foundation, Entrepreneurship at Cornell and participating colleges at Cornell. eHub is directed by Peter Cortle (BS '11).
The Reunion weekend also marked the quarterly board meetings for Student Agencies, Inc. (SAI), Student Agencies Properties (SAP), and an annual trustee meeting for Student Agencies Foundation (SAF). Alumni including Alan Eisner (BS '89, MEng '92), Andy Chatham (BA '12), and Brandon Huang (BS '15) returned to Ithaca for the weekend and joined us for the meetings.
SAI President Luke Bushner ('18) presents a quarterly summary to the SAI Board of Directors at the eLab.
Tivadar Szegletes (MBA '02), the Executive Director of Budget and Finance at the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, was welcomed as a new member of the SAI Board of Directors during the SAI board meeting. The Board of Directors, comprised of SAI alumni, Cornell faculty, and other experienced professionals serves as a resource for the SAI student management teams.
Szegletes first became involved with SAI when CEO Kyle Karnes (BS '91) sought a member of the community to mentor the SAI CFO. Karnes reached out to SC Johnson College of Business Dean Soumitra Dutta, who recommended Szegletes because of his extensive finance background and strong ties to the Cornell and Ithaca communities.
Szegletes, who previously held positions at Unilever and Stila Cosmetics, says that he initially became interested in SAI because of its unique operating structure and emphasis on real-world, experiential learning.
As a new member of the SAI Board of Directors, Szegletes aims to help the CFO automate more of the financial modeling processes and ensure that the entire student management team has a valuable learning experience during their time at SAI.
Dan Kathan (BEng '70, MBA '73), former CEO of SAI and member of the SAI Board of Directors, was elected as an SAF trustee. Kathan served as CEO of SAI from 1998-2012, and currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship affiliated with the Hotel School at Cornell University.
During Kathan's tenure at SAI, all student run businesses became profitable, enabling improvement in student compensation and their ability to attract the best talent. SAI improved its reputation with Cornell and achieved preferred vendor status for both our storage and moving businesses. SAI was able to secure a multi-year contract for Big Red Shipping and Storage and negotiated a long-term renewable contract to produce the Cornellian.
By the end of his tenure, Student Agencies was financially strong, enjoyed an excellent relationship with University and had built strong ties with alumni from his tenure, a number of whom now serve on the Board of SAI, most notably the current and former Chairs of the Board.
As a new Trustee of Student Agencies Foundation, Kathan has a strong interest in helping to organize the rich historic record of the organization and to help design a sustainable and effective process for helping to connect current students with appropriate alumni for career counseling and job search assistance and advice.
Greg Thomas (BA '93, MBA '10) and Madeline Lieber (BS '17) were elected as foundation members of SAF. SAF members are chosen for their commitment and contributions to both SAF and Cornell University to advance the SAF mission.
Greg Thomas, who currently is the Chief Administrative Officer of Global Strategy and New Ventures at State Street, sits on the SAP and SAI Board of Directors. Thomas previously served as Chief Financial Officer of SAI.
Madeline Lieber, who will be joining Google after graduation, also sits on the SAP Board of Directors. Lieber previously served as General Manager of Campus Promotions and 2016 President of SAI, and returned to SAI after her tenure as President to aid in the SAP redevelopment project.