To: The Caltech Faculty and Staff
From: Thomas F. Rosenbaum, Sonja and William Davidow Presidential Chair and Professor of Physics
Date: November 24, 2020
Re: New Secretary to the Board of Trustees
I am delighted to announce that Cathy Light, secretary of the corporation and advisor to the president at Carnegie Mellon University since 2018, will join Caltech as secretary to the Board of Trustees effective January 4, 2021.
In this pivotal role, Cathy will serve as the chief liaison to the Caltech Board of Trustees to facilitate their governance and fiduciary responsibilities for the Institute. She will serve as a resource to the Caltech community for information on all matters within the jurisdiction of the Board. As a member of the senior leadership of the Institute, Cathy's capacious expertise and collegial approach will help advance Caltech's mission of forefront research and education in service to society.
A well-respected leader in her field, Cathy has more than 35 years of experience in higher education with a specialty in strategic planning, organizational leadership, governance, and engagement. As secretary of the corporation, she is a member of Carnegie Mellon's executive leadership group and an officer of the Carnegie Mellon Board. As advisor to the president, Cathy oversees all presidential advisory boards, implements special projects, and facilitates numerous committees. During her tenure at Carnegie Mellon, she served three university presidents with distinction. She also previously served concurrently as secretary of the corporation and chief of staff to the president. Most notably, she facilitated two presidential transitions and served as a leader for a presidential search, all while being responsible for the oversight of the office of the president and the board of trustees office.
Prior to Carnegie Mellon, Cathy served for more than 20 years in leadership roles at the Institute for Shipboard Education (Semester at Sea) at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Virginia. She earned a bachelor's degree in business management from Carlow University and a master's degree in organizational leadership from Robert Morris University. Cathy also participated in the inaugural class of the Carnegie Mellon Leadership Academy. She is an active member of both the Association of Governing Boards (AGB) and the Association of Board Secretaries (ABS).
I am grateful to the search committee that recommended Cathy after it assessed an impressive slate of candidates from across the nation. The committee, chaired by Trustee Taylor Lawrence, included Trustee Ken Moore; Caltech faculty members Jacqueline Barton and Ravi Ravichandran; and members of the Institute staff Dexter Bailey, Diana Jergovic (co-chair), and Jennifer Lum. Hillary Tribbs staffed the committee.
Since January 2020, Vice President for Advancement and Alumni Relations Dexter Bailey has served admirably as acting secretary. He and his colleagues have helped the Caltech Board navigate the dual challenges of a leadership transition and the pandemic with the utmost care. Please join me in thanking Dexter as we look forward to Cathy's arrival.