Notes from an Outgoing Director, by Dean Smith

“…many worlds I’ve come since I first left home.”—Brokedown Palace, The Grateful Dead

I stopped by Sage House last Saturday evening to finish packing up some books and pictures. I played songs on the guitar there for the last time. The twelve-foot ceilings provide excellent acoustics.

I reflected on the last four years in this palace of knowledge creation. I loved every minute of being at Cornell University Press—the staff, the faculty, the university, the library, the hockey rink, the town, and especially the apples. I look forward to working with my new colleagues at Duke University Press as much as I will miss the people of Cornell.

Sage House functioned as an infirmary for several decades and my office most certainly had been patient intake at one time. It suggests the perfect metaphor for a modern-day university publishing house on many levels. Our authors and customers require urgent, seasonal care.

On my first day, designer and Mac support specialist Richie Patrick made me feel at home with a basketball icon on my log-in page. Her husband played in an AC/DC tribute band. House administrator Mike Morris had found a superb mahogany desk from surplus for me—the way scrappy university presses do it. Furniture and lamps from the presidential mansion poured in.

Outside my office in the corner of a majestic 19th century porch, Comstock the resident groundhog emerged from a hole in the floorboards and stared quizzically into my office.

“Who do you think you are?”

After an Ithaca Bakery muffin piece offering, détente ensued. I am humbled and grateful to have occupied this office for the last four years and to have learned a great deal from my colleagues. Thank you for your willingness to experiment and change.

When I started as director in 2015, a host of issues had percolated to the top. My predecessor, John Ackerman had been gone for more than a year but he was close by and available for consultation. I met with him several times.

The shortlist of next things provided a wide range of initiatives that included shoring up the title pipeline as a result of John’s vacancy, implementing a new press-wide database, analyzing a fulfillment operation that was losing clients, exploring the possibility of creating more eBooks, investing in the marketing department and correcting our position of isolation from the university.

Complacency was not an option.

Fredrik Logevall, my report and the person who hired me had left for Harvard after two months—but not before he okayed not one, but two acquisitions editors (Jim Lance and Emily Andrew) to join the Press and bolster the pipeline. Jim and Emily have become great colleagues. Fred enjoyed talking about publishing—having won a Pulitzer Prize for his book, Embers of War. He made things happen for the Press.

We briefly reported to Senior Vice Provost Laura Brown. She led the search committee that brought me to Ithaca and I stayed close to her throughout my tenure.

Cornell inaugurated a dynamic new president in Beth Garrett from USC. She selected Michael Kotlikoff to become provost from the vet school. Our editor-in-chief Peter Potter resigned. Our HR contact changed. Our veteran finance team of Roger Hubbs and Cindy team after a little more than a year.

Vice Provost for International Affairs, Laura Spitz became our third direct report in my first ninety days.

“All the people who brought you here are gone,” said the consultant who conducted the press review before I arrived. “I’m worried about who will support you.”

I prefer an underdog role, always have. I thrive on it. I’m lucky to have been challenged in every phase of my career and Cornell was no exception. We created a strategic plan and accomplished most of it, developed core values, finalized a vision statement and are in the midst of another strategic plan that asks the question: Who do we want to be?

University presses struggle to resonate with their administrations and yet they provide an outstanding service as a credentialing body for scholars and the academy around the world.

We tell stories that would never come to light anywhere else. We support scholars publishing first books. We don’t have time to explain that we are not the news media or the printing office. We deliver reliable, peer-reviewed knowledge during a critically important moment in the history of the world.

Building a Network

I felt a sense of urgency from the beginning and began establishing relationships that would prove essential for long-term sustainability.

Executive director Nishi Dhupa in the office of International Affairs became a trusted confidant who knew the Press’s institutional history. She’d worked with Fred and now Laura and Hiro Miyazaki in the Einaudi Center.

We met for coffee to discuss strategies designed to position the Press more prominently within the university. Nishi, Laura Spitz, and I worked well together. Nishi played a critical role as press ambassador on campus—helping with difficult financial conversations and onboarding imprints such as Southeast Asian Studies Publications and the Center for East Asian Studies Series.

I regularly engaged publishing veteran and CUP executive editor Frances Benson who brought ILR Press to CUP in the 1990s. Fran is a publishing giant and her guidance helped me through the early days. I spoke regularly with her colleague Walter Lippincott, former Press director who left Ithaca for Princeton.

Fran deliberated for years about publishing a series of leadership books with a professor in the ILR School named Sam Bacharach. Sam had mentored NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and Rob Manfred, head of Major League Baseball. Sam’s previous books had done well with Berrett-Koehler ten years ago. We created the Cornell Publishing imprint to publish his books and more.

Our incredibly talented designer Scott Levine designed the covers to resemble Jim Collins’s Good to Great. It was an experiment that paid off. The Agenda Mover sold 5,000 copies and Sam became a close friend in the process. Recently, Cornell named their leadership development program for him.

I started having lunch with David Lehman, editor of the Best American Poetry series and the one person you need to know as a poet. I knew David lived in Ithaca because he’s listed in Wikipedia as a “notable Ithacan.” I checked the list before moving up here. Through poet Moira Egan who resides in Rome, he reached out to me shortly after I started. I didn’t know that he was undergoing treatment for cancer. Our lunchtime conversations at The Heights ranged from translations of Baudelaire to the Los Angeles Dodgers. We published a book of his writing prompts from The American Scholar that’s essentially a portable poetry workshop, entitled Next Line, Please. Our talks evolved into an idea for a book like Rilke’s, Letters to a Young Poet.

One Hundred Autobiographies publishes in the Fall.

I reached out to the Cornell chapter of Sigma Phi. As an undergrad at UVA, I had joined the brotherhood at 163 Rugby Road and learned about the Cornell chapter there. I lived in the Berkeley chapter in the summer of 1986 mainly to see Dead shows at the Greek Theatre and met a group from Cornell who had ridden bicycles across the country tracking weather patterns—my first intersection with the university.

Cornell Sigma Phi alumni include university auditor Glenn Mueller, Board of Trustee Chairman Robert Harrison, Stanley Cup champion Ken Dryden, Toronto Raptors owner Larry Tanenbaum (congrats!) and Ezra Cornell IV. Alumni liaison Dan Mansoor welcomed me and we worked together on a publishing event that was attended by 300 people. The link to “An Evening with Tom Jones” is here. They made it clear to me that I should call them if I needed anything. Andrew Dickson White, founder of the Press and a Sigma Phi, was Cornell’s first president.

One of our bestselling authors and beloved Cornell professors, Glenn Altschuler accepted my lunch invite. He was not happy with our marketing efforts for Cornell: A History. We sold 4,000 copies and generated six figures. Eventually Glenn came back into the fold but it wasn’t easy and I learned a lot from a well-connected campus figure.

The late Virginia director Mark Saunders also played the role of sounding board. Mark and I had worked on a grant proposal together with MIT Press before I left Hopkins that didn’t leave the starting gate—but it led to the last-minute overnight creation of a two-pager with Greg Britton and Terry Ehling that became MUSE Open.

“There’s the idea, but also there’s want you want to do within the Press,” he shared. “If you need a software tool or a new website, bake that in.”

New Product Development

Growing revenues with print books, even more of them, is not an easy task these days. Library sales of monographs had plummeted but ebooks were starting to take off just as electronic journals had done twenty years before. We had only 350 ebooks available in the Project MUSE ebook aggregation.

We needed a way to release more titles and eventually the entire 6,000-title corpus. Staff had complained to me during my interview that they could only create five to ten ebooks a month. We needed rights clearance expertise and a team of people to meet regularly to administer the grant but also additional aggregators such as DeGruyter, UPSO, JSTOR, eBrary, and EBSCO to work with us.

During my days at MUSE working with Wendy Queen on ebook business models, I knew that libraries and consortia preferred certain offerings over others and that any form of exclusivity would greatly limit market penetration.

We needed more ebooks. We started writing an NEH grant to digitize twenty out of print classics from the Press backlist, working closely with Kizer Walker and Oya Rieger at the Cornell Library. Walker developed a methodology that became the model for grantees to follow. We created a marketing website called “Cornell Open” which evolved into the mantra of “openness” for the Press.

These three grants allowed us to open the Press to the library, the university, and the world.

New interim President Hunter Rawlings (after Beth Garrett passed away) and Provost Kotlikoff joined our second grant entitled “A Celebration of the Humanities.” These 102 NEH OA ebooks have been accessed in 200 countries with scholars downloading more than 300,000 chapters. We released 3,000 ebooks and grew our annual ebook revenues by $1 million in four years. There is no communications department in the world that can achieve brand recognition like that.

Karen Laun, Jim McCaffery, Michael Morris, Nathan Gemignani, Lynn Benedetto, Diana Silva, Kate LeBoff, Bill Oates, Ange Romeo Hall, and others met twice a week for nearly four years to make this happen. Cross-functional teams are essential for presses to innovate and grow.

I worked with senior editor Michael McGandy on developing two exciting projects that were discussed during my interview. Cornell ’77 and Forever Faithful. A legendary Grateful Dead show at Barton Hall in 1977 and the Cornell hockey team represented two Cornell stories that needed to be told. Michael’s herculean efforts made both a success.

McGandy came to Cornell via Rowman & Littlefield. His vision for publishing more widely accessible books tracked with mine. He also wanted to tell regional New York stories. In addition to his scholarly list, he helped create the Three Hills imprint to accommodate that vision and these books have generated substantial revenues to sustain the Press including Women Will Vote, Dagger John, Elizabeth Seton, Brooklyn Before, and Thomas Cole’s Refrain. He also acquired the journal, New York History.

The Title Whisperer

We were lucky to have one person on staff that could do every job in the house including not only catching bats with tools he created (e.g. bat ticker and bat catcher) but also creating his own ONIX feeds from scratch. When you have someone who loves metadata so much that he fixes records at home—options present themselves.

I appointed Mahinder Kingra to the position of editor-in-chief to replace Peter Potter in late 2015. In our one-on-one meetings when he was marketing director, I sensed a passion for the books that reflected an editorial sensibility. He often titled books and spoke with editors early on in the process. We didn’t conduct a search because we had the person we needed.

He kept Peter’s lists in Literary Theory and Medieval studies and transformed them into his own—engineering the expansion from 100 to 150 titles per year. Bethany Wasik, Emily Powers, Meagan Dermody, and Ellen Murphy adroitly managed the machinery of this growth as editorial assistants and assistant editors.

At our weekly PreBoard meeting, Mahinder’s comments as marketing director reflected a deep understanding of the list. PreBoard at CUP is an extra step in the peer-review process—an intense and thorough review of the manuscript after external peer-review but before it reaches the faculty board. All acquisitions editors are joined by manuscript editorial, production, and marketing. What’s known as a “Cornell Book” arises from this high-level graduate seminar.

The previous director, John Ackerman’s PreBoard sessions became the stuff of legend—but make no mistake, the prestige and quality of our list begins here. Ackerman diligently owned and shaped the disciplines of Slavic Studies and Medieval Studies. This extra step reinforces the Cornell way—hard work, followed by more rigorous analysis that results in the best possible scholarship being published. As a result of David Mitchell’s hard work, the Press annually wins forty to sixty awards—greatly enhancing an author’s reputation as well as our university’s brand.

Early on, world-leading international-affairs editor Roger Haydon demonstrated an uncanny ability to predict sales of his monographs within units. He regularly receives 1,000 proposals a year and must select thirty.

He once described the origins of Max Begholz’s award-winning work, Violence as a Generative Force about a neglected Bosnian genocide as “dropping from heaven onto his desk.” He’s cranking away as I write this, more than forty-five years after he started, ushering in a new generation of scholars.

“I’m not looking for B+ work,” he told me on more than one occasion. Besides being an avid Cornell hockey fan, he’s forgotten more about book publishing than I know.

Emily Andrew, working in Toronto has brought in some exciting projects including The Twenty-Six Words that Shaped the Internet and others. Jim Lance works in Northampton, Massachusetts, and provides some of the best manuscript advice in the house and has enhanced our religion list along with geography and criminal justice.

Our experienced science editor Kitty Liu whose books generate significant revenues helped me understand and navigate a number of issues early on related to press culture. Kitty manages the Zona Tropical titles working with an outside editor and she has expanded that program to include more than just Costa Rica. She has natural leadership skills that she will continue to develop. Kitty learned acquisitions as an editorial assistant for Fran Benson. She brings light to the office every day along with emotional intelligence and a broad range of publishing skills.

Our manuscript editorial team reinforce quality standards on a daily basis. They drive excellence and authors shower praise upon them. Copyediting is a key competitive advantage at Sage House. Led by Ange Romeo Hall, the team consists of Karen Hwa, Karen Laun, Mary Kate Murphy, Jennifer Savran Kelly, and Susan Specter. Susan handles many of our most difficult projects, including our science books—with grace and skill.

Our licensing and permissions team demonstrates the quality of our books—Tonya Cook and Stephanie Munson—sell translation tights, audio rights, and permissions on a global scale. This aspect of our business exceeds $100,000 every year.

We’ve published 500 new frontlist titles in four years, growing the title count steadily. We’ve launched Battlegrounds (military history) Corpus Juris (humanities and the law), and Histories of American Education series, among others.

Surviving the Deficit

Laura Spitz, our third leader, turned out to be a charm. We experienced a $400,000 revenue shortfall in FY16 as the result of a metadata error related to Amazon.

Laura and I engaged VP of Finance Paul Streeter who told us that the warehouses needed to be sold immediately. This idea had been discussed as early as 2006. Streeter is a big fan of the Press and holds as much institutional knowledge as anyone at Cornell about it. Great institutions contain exceptional people and Paul Streeter is one of those. Paul learned the CUP business in the early 2000s and has always stayed close to us. We’d arrived at the defining moment he knew would come.

“Based on these projections, you need to sell those buildings now.”

Laura loaned the Press the monies to cover the shortfall from her department surplus. By January of 2016, we selected a new fulfillment partner and went live on July 1, 2019. The warehouses sold shortly thereafter and the lion’s share of the monies went to transition costs and to the provost.

Most importantly, our annual subvention stayed intact as a result.

I spent many sleepless nights wondering if the warehouses would sell. They were in a unique and valuable location on a canal that was being revitalized. It was close to the legendary Ithaca Farmer’s Market. Saying goodbye to my warehouse colleagues was extremely difficult. They went above and beyond—including wiping the dust off of the books from presses who were moving out.

Cornell Press always had its own warehouse since the 1930s because of Ithaca’s isolation. The Cascadilla warehouses at full capacity housed fifteen presses. Their early leader, Don Barham had grown up in Texas with Don Collins, the long-time manager of the Chicago Distribution Center. They were rivals in the university press distribution business. Bharom often worked around the clock, appearing for duty in a robe with a carbonated beverage in hand. Those were the days.

We hired a new finance manager, Lynn Benedetto from the university business center who quickly put us on a path to financial stability. She consolidated two accounting ledgers and three systems, and completely redesigned our royalty process. She also took on the production department because she lives for new challenges. In only four months in the publishing business, Lynn presented at the AUP Financial Manager’s conference.

She brings the perfect combination of determination and talent. Lynn teaches spinning and yoga—and her dedication to achieving the highest levels of success is refreshing. Prior to Lynn’s arrival, I had no idea how we were going to find a finance manager. She was in high demand on campus and we worked quickly to stave off an attempt to steal her away.

As July 1st approaches, I am confident we will balance the budget to zero for a second straight year.

Will O’Dell Wehling, a forklift driver from the warehouse with an anthropology degree and some paralegal training, became Lynn’s assistant. Patrick Garrison, the IT guru from the warehouse who kept the systems together with bungee cords and duct tape also came to Sage House.

We conducted a search and hired Martyn Beeny from Nebraska as our marketing director in the Fall of 2016. He immediately changed the launch process, publication schedules, and introduced new marketing approaches and successful campaigns such as “Pay What You Want.

Martyn introduced the Press to the idea that print-on-demand can be used as a platform to keep all titles in print and to print catalogs, bound galleys, and even short books. He typeset an “instant book” of blogposts by Suzanne Gordon under the title of The Battle for Veteran’s Healthcare. This book was a precursor to her bestselling title Wounds of War and sold nearly 3,000 copies and generated $15,000. This is just one example of Martyn’s inclination toward experimentation and innovation—and what the university press of the future will be. He has grown as a leader and a change agent and he will lead a press one day soon.

Embracing a just-in-time digital mindset allowed us to reduce our inventory footprint and provide books around the world instantaneously. The quality continues to improve along with our market position.

Martyn has a strong supporting cast in Adriana Ferreira, Jonathan Hall, David Mitchell, Brock Schnoke, and Sarah Noell.

Our first imprint collaboration during my tenure also brought us our first journal since getting out of that business in the 1950s. The Southeast Asian Studies Publications joined forces with the Press in 2016 thanks to Tamara Loos, Fred Conner, and former Press employee Sarah Grossman who had joined SEAP. We became publisher of the journal, Indonesia.

Hitting Our Stride

Together, we accomplished some amazing publishing feats in 2017.

Editor-in-Chief Mahinder Kingra worked with Hiro Miyazaki in the Einaudi Center to bring former Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan to Cornell. Mahinder had purchased the rights to Kan’s book, My Nuclear Nightmare at the Frankfurt Book Fair. Kan’s riveting book tells the story of the 2011 Fukushima disaster from his perspective. Seven-hundred people attended the event in the Statler Auditorium.

The book idea we discussed about the Grateful Dead show at Cornell’s Barton Hall came together. The manuscript took shape as three-person labor of love. The author, Peter Conners worked closely with Michael McGandy and I on successive drafts. We struggled to find photos from the show until one summer night in the Belle Sherman neighborhood. Michael wore his Barton Hall t-shirt, a gift from Conners, while barbecuing. A neighbor stopped by.

“I know the guy who has the photos,” the person said.

Cornell ’77: The Music, the Myth, and the Magnificence of the Grateful Dead’s Greatest Show published in April of 2017. Michael worked closely with Peter to bring the project in on a tight deadline and Sara Ferguson deftly copyedited it. The previous fall, Michael McGandy informed me that we would be receiving a call from Warner Brothers about a special sale.

My initial thought was, related to the many of the extraordinary events that occurred during my tenure, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” Sure enough, Doran Tyson of Rhino Records/Warner Brothers reached out to finalize the details of the special sale.

The 40th anniversary of the May 8th, 1977 show also brought with it the digital remastering of Betty Cantor Jackson’s pristine and enlightened soundboard recordings of the show—the holy grail to Deadhead nation. These tapes had undergone a hero’s journey from their unlikely discovery in a dilapidated barn in Marin County to sound engineer Rob Eaton’s studio for restoration. Doran wanted to include 15,000 copies of the book in the box sets. The box set sold out in four days and the website crashed.

Doran also wanted to fly a drone over Cornell, project imagery onto Barton Hall and have a listening party. Things took on a life of their own from that point on. The Tompkins County magistrate named 5/8/77 Grateful Dead day. Liz Field who worked in communications at Cornell organized the Cornell Chimesmasters to learn Dead songs and play them in McGraw Tower. The drone effort failed but my friend Doug Levine, also a Deadhead who attended Ithaca College (because of the Barton Hall cassette tape he had in high school) held the listening party at The State Theatre downtown where he served as Executive Director. The event was a sell-out and books were sold.

Two months later, I received a call from Gerri Jones who worked in the Provost’s Office as the liaison for Cornell appointed professors-at-large. I’d met Gerri after a folk concert at the Press in the Fall of 2015. I gave her a tour of Sage House and she’d mentioned then that John Cleese, Cornell Professor-at-Large, would love to see the Press. We followed up and our gifted digital marketing manager, Jonathan Hall, suggested that a selection of Cleese’s lectures and talks would make a great book. Wearing a full-length coat, lace boots, and Lennon shades, Gerri brought a shopping bag full of tapes and CDs into the Sage House and the project began.

She transcribed the lectures and they were sent to Cleese who was having hip surgery. That was late 2016.

“This is a great time for him to edit them,” she said.  I didn’t hear anything for a year.

“He’s coming to Ithaca in September,” she said. “You are going to interview him, so start thinking of questions. It’s going to be the last chapter.”

Then she said that it had been approved by the Provost. I realize now that I am forever indebted to Mike Kotlikoff for giving me this opportunity. The provost also delivered a masterful introduction—one that put us both on stage and made room for a creative entry. Eight hundred people attended the public lecture.

We lost Gerri suddenly in the summer of 2018—weeks before the book published. We quickly ran out of the first printing and added a dedication to her in the next run. Jennifer Savran Kelly edited the Cleese manuscript. With another amazing Scott Levine cover, Professor at Large: The Cornell Years released in Fall of 2018. We’ve sold more than 7,000 copies.

Laura Spitz accepted a position at the University of New Mexico. Before leaving, she selected me to participate in the search for the new university librarian. I had an inkling I would be hiring my new boss. In fact, I wanted the Press to report to the library. I knew many of the staff and enjoyed working with them. Cornell Library is one of the best in the world. University libraries find themselves in a similar position to university presses. Their budget allocations have been flat or declining for decades while the pricing of expensive STM resources continues to increase annually.

Universities annually fund the research and pay hundreds of millions of dollars to buy it back from commercial firms. I’d like to play a future role in reshaping the costs of knowledge acquisition within library settings, working with Ivy Plus presses on new models, and reestablishing university presses as a potential solution to this problem.

Gerald Beasley from University of Alberta was chosen to lead the library and we worked together to include the Press as a direct report soon thereafter. He is an enlightened university administrator who strives to create a work environment that reflects a world that he’d like to live in. I share his belief that presses and libraries are learning institutions. He also understands university presses and the challenges their directors face.

“I don’t want press directors losing sleep over finances,” he said during the job interview. “That’s not a productive use of time.”

Gerald has been an outstanding boss and leader. Our meetings lasted for hours and we talked about publishing, accessibility, and openness. I’m a big fan of Gerald and his vision for scholarly communication. I sought his counsel first with the Press’s first major opportunity to grow during my tenure.

At the end of 2017, former Temple Press director and publishing accomplice, Alex Holzman called me about an opportunity to onboard a press imprint that was looking for a publisher. We rejected the initial Request for Proposal along with several other presses.

Then I received a call from Jerry Blazey, the Vice Provost for Research at Northern Illinois Press. He’d devised a model and found a way forward and CUP was the best choice. One of the great things about this collaboration is acquisitions editor and poet Amy Farranto who resides close by in Syracuse. Amy’s editorial eye is one to watch in the years ahead.

University Earlier this year, we announced our collaboration with Northern Illinois University Press  and it will go live in two weeks on July 1st, 2019. This trend will continue in university press publishing.

As 2018 came to an end, we raced to be a part of the second Mellon Diversity Initiative grant.

Alexis Siemon recently joined the Press and has already attended AUP and made a positive impression.

Endow Cornell University Press

Outside of Cornell President Martha Pollack’s office is a large framed cover of our 150th anniversary history-of-the-Press book with the headline, “Publishing Reliable Knowledge Since 1869.” Our library communications colleague, Zsuzsa Koltay made this happen. President Pollack has expressed that she wants to keep it there for a long time.

As I write this, Sage House is fenced off and a construction crew is waterproofing the foundation. A deep trench rings the perimeter and a single plank leads into the offices. Comstock has been evicted from his home underneath the porch. Old peach baskets and butter boxes filled with concrete from the original foundation have been unearthed.

The Press staff continue their pursuits unfazed. We’ve built a strong foundation. Now, the real work begins.

My one regret is that we didn’t formalize a plan for fundraising. I learned a lot about fundraising at Cornell. We made significant progress under Gerald Beasley and his development liaison Jennifer Sawyer. We held salons and events. We worked with Matt Palumbo at the Cornell Club in New York City and they have been an excellent partner.

Fundraising for any Press must come from the highest levels of the administration. Any meaningful gift for a Press in the $50-500,000 range is not what the development team is focused on. They are gunning for buildings, not books.

The good news is, it wouldn’t take a lot of money in the scheme of things to ensure the future of a Press—say $5-10 million. Endowing the director’s position and another staff member would be a good start. I’ve met many interested authors and alumni who maintain a passion for the printed word.

Universities need to reground their commitment to scholarship and advancing knowledge by reinforcing their presses and readying them for the long haul. The debacle at Stanford could happen anywhere. I agreed with Stanford director Alan Harvey when he said at the Faculty Senate Meeting last week, “An endowment is the only thing for a long-term sustainable press.”

Presses and their role in advancing knowledge requires skin in the game beyond a rounding error.

It’s Cornell Press’s 150th anniversary year and we held a publishing panel in May, “University Presses and their Role in the Creation of Reliable Knowledge.” There are more events planned to raise awareness.

Endowing Cornell University Press deserves to be a university priority. We regularly compete with presses who have large endowments—Harvard, Yale, and Princeton.

Our focus remains to publish high quality scholarship. Our brand is strong and our books can change the world. Six-thousand titles carry the Cornell brand and they include hundreds if not thousands of tenure books, first books, Cornellian-authored books, award-winning books, peer-reviewed books, and more.

So respectfully, my challenge is this. Work with the Press to develop the pitch and raise money for one year. If there are no takers, then we can all move on. The new Cornell University Press director will need the university’s support. The position should be endowed as it tracks back to the founder of the university.

Assign a development resource now when there is momentum and a story that begins here with Karen Laun’s exceptionally written 150-year history of CUP.

We accomplished a tremendous amount during a challenging time. The changes we made together will position the Press for a long run into the future.

Hopefully, we had some fun as well.



Notes from an Outgoing Director, by Dean Smith

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