Gary Stewart

Gary Stewart is Associate Vice President of Cornell University Community Relations. He is vice chair of the Tompkins County Environmental Management Council, a member of the Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative, Better Housing for Tompkins County and Strategic Tourism Planning board of directors, chair of Leadership Tompkins, producer of "All Things Equal", a weekly radio show on WHCU that features issues tied to equity and sustainability, and writes a twice-monthly column in The Ithaca Journal on town-gown opportunities and issues. Gary works with students at many levels, including the Collegetown Neighborhood Council, fraternities and sororities, and the Cornell Student United Way Campaign, which has been recognized by United Way National as the top student campaign in the nation.

Prior to coming to Cornell in 2002, Gary was a lifelong newspaperman, serving as Opinion Page Editor for The Ithaca Journal for 10 years, and prior to that, as the first managing editor of The Moscow Times, shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Gary is interested in connecting with engaged and curious students who would like to get a sense of off-campus challenges and opportunities, plus the wonderful intellectual and natural resources that are part of life in Ithaca.

Community Relations staff holds leadership positions on several on-and-off campus boards and committees, including, (in addition to above)  City of Ithaca/Cornell University Working Group, Campus-Community Coalition, Cornell Employee Assembly, Ithaca Rotary Club, Local Government Leaders Roundtable, President’s Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs, President’s Sustainable Campus Committee, Tompkins County Air Services Board, Tompkins County Area Development, Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce, Tompkins County/Cornell University Working Group, Tompkins County Higher Education Roundtable, University Neighborhoods Council, Downtown Ithaca Alliance Board, Ithaca-Tompkins County Transportation Council. and Cornell Real Estate Advisory Committee.

This is beyond on-campus work on CU building projects that need municipal building permits, high-profile town-gown initiatives, such as means restriction, and connecting campus and community on challenges and opportunities of shared interest, ranging from affordable housing and transportation, to K-12 education and resource sharing, and issues like student mental health initiatives, off-campus housing challenges, environmental concerns and any given town-gown issue of note.

Some representative highlights from recent months via individual and group efforts:

  • Community Relations was consulted and served as key advisor on any number of fast-moving and-or long-term controversial projects or developments, ranging from environmental issues like Lake Source Cooling, or the College of Veterinary Medicine digester, to high-profile developments like means restriction, or town-gown interest in changes at the Africana Center.
  • On project teams for several key initiatives or developments, including the ERL project, the Gates building, tax-exempt issues in Geneva, gorge safety, a student’s alcohol-related death, safety concerns tied to Collegetown’s housing stock, and related on-and-off-campus committees and municipal meetings.
  • Increased higher-level involvement on campus sustainability efforts, including development of the CU Partners in Sustainability Award, the first of which was presented to NYSERDA, through the President’s Sustainable Campus Committee, and most recently, to the Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative.   Related off-campus work continues via leadership roles with the Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative and the Tompkins County Environmental Management Council.
  • Engaged Ithaca City School District's new superintendent from the outset, with K-12 outreach connections, meeting with David Skorton, being hosted by CU Albany, and consulting with CIT CEO Ted Dodds.
  • Was awarded the SUNY CUAD Judges Citation for progressive race-relations initiatives launched by CU Community Relations, and SUNY CUAD Best of Category for producing the weekly WHCU radio show All Things Equal. (This show has also been nominated for the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation's (NABEF) Celebration of Service to America Award by a coalition of community members led by the Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce.)
  • Chaired and utilized the Campus-Community Coalition to address key issues with our higher-ed colleagues, ranging from H1N1, student mental health issues and underage drinking
  • Chaired and utilized the Collegetown Neighborhood Council to serve as a forum for an important city mayoral race and related issues.
  • Continued management of Local Leaders of Color group that is co-chaired by David Skorton and the director of a local community center, which serves as an important forum for town-gown conversations on race, class, and equity, and issues of community interest.