Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mangum leader in higher education

Elmira Mangum


In April 2014, Elmira Mangum became president of Florida A&M University, the university’s first female president. She is responsible for the operations of the University, which includes approximately 11,000 students and more than 700 faculty.

1977 alum Elmira Mangum is Cornell University's new vice president for budget and planning.

A seasoned administrator with more than 25 years of experience in executive higher education financial and resource management, Mangum says the training she received from what is now the La Follette School of Public Affairs has proven invaluable throughout the years of her professional work and completion of her doctorate. "Those initial courses in public policy, budgeting and administration gave me an excellent grounding in the basic tools that I use every day in bringing people together to solve tough problems and manage resources," Mangum says. "My educational experience at UW was life changing, to say the least, and it prepared me for the future. It nourished my desire and passion for service."

Mangum started with Cornell in February 2010, joining the university at a challenging time, when it is undergoing a major initiative to "reimagine" itself to strengthen its academic enterprises with reduced resources. Mangum sees opportunity in the challenge. "It's kind of like a ball of clay," she says. "You can look at it like it's a lump; or you can look at it as a creative opportunity that you can help mold into a useful tool."

As vice president for budget and planning at Cornell, Mangum serves as the senior administrator responsible for managing Cornell's resources and the annual budgeting process. She provides leadership in applying university resources to meet Cornell's institutional priorities and academic programming needs. Her duties include serving as a key liaison with the Cornell Board of Trustees and, along with the president, provost and senior staff, advising the board on the full range of policy, strategy and budgetary matters. Perhaps her biggest task so far has been preparing Cornell's budget for fiscal year 2011, which begins July 1.

"Anybody can cut a budget," she says. "But what we're trying to do is build in a strategy that enables us to continue to provide the quality of education, research and learning community that we always have and do it with the academic and administrative support that we need."

Collaboration is the word she uses to describe her approach, she says. "To succeed, you need an inclusive process that allows the entire university to be able to be part of it and own it."

Mangum had been an administrator and senior associate provost at the University of North Carolina since 2001. There, she served on the planning, priority and financing committees that develop strategies for the university budget, construction and renovation of academic facilities; provided leadership on policy development, budget planning and financial management for faculty; and led preparation of the operating budget. Among her administrative positions at the State University of New York at Buffalo, from 1984 to 2001, she served as associate and assistant provost for resource management and as vice provost. She played a key role at SUNY Buffalo in the development and implementation of strategies for campuswide budget management. Previously, she served as senior budget and management analyst for the Dekalb County, Georgia, finance department.

Mangum graduated in 1977 with honors from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with two master's degrees, one in public policy and public administration and another in urban and regional planning. She received her Ph.D. in education administration from SUNY Buffalo. She points out that she received her foundation and inspiration for service at North Carolina Central University, one of the nation's historically black colleges, where she graduated magna cum laude with a B.S. in geography and education. While a student, she served in Washington, D.C., as the first African-American U.S. congressional intern on the congressional payroll as well as the first from North Carolina. She is a member of the National Council of Negro Women and the National Association of College and University Business Officers.

Mangum also is a graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Education Management Development Program and Cornell's Administrative Management Institute. More recently, she completed the leadership program at the Center for Creative Leadership in North Carolina.

A shorter version of this article appeared in the fall 2010 La Follette Notes. Much of the information in this article is from the Cornell Chronicle. Cornell University photo by Robert Barker.

About the President, April 2014, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

Elmira Mangum takes a hand-on approach to planning, March 18, 2010, Cornell Chronicle

Elmira Mangum named vice president for budget, planning, November 12, 2009, Cornell Chronicle