Alumni Spotlight: Laura Cornick
Aquinas College is proud to announce that alumna Laura Cornick has been named Vice President of Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association (TICUA). TICUA represents and supports the private higher education institutions of Tennessee in matters related to public policy and provides services and programs for its members that foster collaboration and provide professional development.
Laura graduated from the Aquinas College Adult Studies program in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. She began at TICUA immediately upon graduation as Director of Administration and Logistics. Following completion of her Master’s degree from Lipscomb University, Laura was appointed Director of Member Services, where she designed and implemented professional development programs in higher education leadership.
Laura recalls her time as an undergraduate student fondly, although it was not without its challenges. Laura took a few college courses while living in Virginia, following the lead of her friends. She commented on this experience, “As a first generation college student, I felt like I didn’t belong.” When Laura and her family moved to Nashville, she decided to give college another try. She found Aquinas’ Adult Studies program to be the ideal fit, remarking that “a business program tailored for adults with small class sizes and a strong Catholic tradition was exactly what I was looking for. Business principles supported by a liberal arts foundation developed my critical thinking skills and offered great flexibility with regard to career potential.”
When Laura was a senior at Aquinas, she approached her academic advisor with an unprecedented request: to participate in the Tennessee Legislature Internship Program. Laura and her advisor worked together to develop the academic plan for this opportunity, and the following semester Laura was full-time at the Tennessee State Capitol Building. Laura interned with Tennessee State Senator Dolores Gresham (Senate District 26), who was chair of the Senate Education Committee. It was during this internship that Laura met TICUA President Dr. Claude Pressnell. Almost immediately following Laura’s internship and graduation, Pressnell hired her to begin her career at TICUA.
Dr. Pressnell is confident Laura will continue to excel: “Laura is an incredible asset to the Association,” commented Pressnell. “Over the past 11 years she has mastered and improved her administrative role at TICUA. I’m so excited to watch her employ her leadership as the Vice President. I am confident that the Association will continue to grow in its capacity to serve our 34 member colleges and universities.” As Vice President at TICUA, Laura will have the opportunity to profoundly impact the landscape of higher education in Tennessee, especially as she oversees TICUA’s recently launched ACT for Equity, a leadership development program that strives to enhance equity and accessibility for underserved populations in higher education.
Laura is grateful for the relationships and experiences Aquinas College has provided her. She especially remembers the Baccalaureate Mass. “The Cathedral was beautiful, and thinking about that Mass still today brings joyful emotions,” reminisced Laura. “A particular blessing is that my dad was in attendance, and we had not attended Mass together in several years. It was a very special moment.”
Laura credits her family as a constant source of inspiration and motivation. Laura and her husband Corey live in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, and are the parents of two adult children and a high school freshman. Their oldest daughter recently graduated from Lipscomb University and their son is currently serving in the U.S. Navy.