Building Innovation Capacity

Roomkin gift supports ILR response to changing workplace
Friday, May 27, 2016

The Myron and Janice Roomkin Innovation Fund, announced today by the ILR School, will support projects related to workers, unions, organizations and society, and help continue the school’s response to the changing nature of work, workers and workplace problems. 

“As a longtime student of industrial/employment relations, I have seen how the ILR School has redefined and broadened its strategic focus over the years,” Roomkin ’67 said.

“This gift will support ILR’s capacity to innovate in curriculum development, research and service, allowing the school to remain a leader in the field of work and employment.”

Roomkin said he chose to attend ILR because it offered the opportunity to study important real-world issues from a multidisciplinary perspective. Following Cornell, he received a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin, where he studied labor economics and employee relations.

In his career as an academic, Roomkin taught courses on employee relations and human resources management at the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, American University and Case Western University, serving as dean of American’s and Case’s business schools.

Since 1971, Roomkin has served as a labor arbitrator and consultant on human resource management policies and practices. 

Looking back on his time at ILR, he is grateful. “Cornell gave me an education, a career and a lifelong interest in the study of the world of work.”

Janice Roomkin, whose career was as an architect, joins in this gift, stating she, too, recognizes the leading role of ILR in addressing some of the most important social and economic issues of our time.

Kevin Hallock, ILR’s Kenneth F. Kahn ’69 Dean and the Joseph R. Rich ’80 Professor, said, “While honoring its past and maintaining a focus on its core mission, the ILR School has evolved markedly in the past 70 years and continues to be on the frontier of workplace studies.”

“Myron and Jan have not only recognized the importance of this evolution, they have dedicated significant funding which will allow us to be nimble and innovative in addressing future opportunities for our students and field. My heartfelt thanks go out to Myron and Jan for their friendship, vision and generosity.”

The couple said the gift encourages academic efforts that represent important unexplored or underexplored aspects of the school’s focus that could reasonably become a meaningful part of the school’s agenda.

In this way, the Roomkin’s support will literally advance the world of work.