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Cornell inaugurates 11th president at three locations around the globe

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ITHACA, N.Y. -- Jeffrey S. Lehman will be inaugurated as president of Cornell University in ceremonies at three Cornell locations around the globe, Oct. 12-16. The events will feature remarks and lectures by the Sheikha of Qatar, national AIDS research leader Anthony Fauci, prize-winning architect Richard Meier and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

"Cornell Celebrates a New Beginning" is the theme of the inauguration, in which Lehman, 47, will challenge higher education to provide fresh leadership in areas that are critical to the well-being of all humanity.

Cornell's selection of its youthful new president has drawn high praise from across the world of higher education. A highly regarded legal scholar, Lehman was named a "rising star" by the National Law Journal when he was named dean of the University of Michigan Law School nine years ago. The philosopher Martha Nussbaum has written about his bold commitment to a transnational vision of education, and he drew national media attention as a spokesperson in defense of the University of Michigan Law School's moderate approach to affirmative action in admissions. The Supreme Court's opinion affirming that policy, in Grutter v. Bollinger, is considered to be one of the most important decisions in the history of higher education. The NAACP Legal Defense Fund will honor Lehman for his role in the case on Nov. 6.

Inauguration events in Qatar will mark an important milestone -- the ribbon-cutting for the official opening of Weill Cornell Medical College's new location in Doha's Education City. The first medical school ever established oversees by an American university, Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar played a central role in the development of Education City, a vast complex of educational facilities, from preschool to graduate studies, that provides leadership in education in the Middle East.

Lehman, whose term as president began July 1, will present an address at the ribbon-cutting ceremonies Oct. 12 at 10 a.m. Also participating will be Her Highness Sheikha Mouzah bint Nasser Al-Missned; Sanford I. Weill, CEO of Citigroup and chair of the Weill Cornell Medical College's Board of Overseers; and Peter C. Meinig, chair of the Cornell Board of Trustees, as well as other officials. On Oct. 13, a panel discussion on the role of women in Qatar will be followed at 4 p.m. by the official launch of Education City by Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, in a ceremony that will feature Lehman's participation.

New York City inaugural events will take place Wednesday, Oct. 15. The day will include a private luncheon with other leading university presidents, as well as more public events. It will feature an inauguration address at the Weill Cornell Medical College by Lehman and a lecture by Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on "Emerging and Re-emerging Diseases of the 21st Century" at 9 a.m. Lehman will visit a neighborhood redevelopment project site at 531 Amsterdam Ave. (at 86th Street) at 2 p.m. with New York City Councilwoman Gale Brewer. Brewer is the founder of an initiative known as the "Street Trees Program," and Lehman will speak about Cornell's engagement in the city through Cornell Cooperative Extension and undergraduate, graduate and professional education.

The week will culminate with events on Cornell's historic Ithaca campus Thursday, Oct. 16. Following an academic procession from the university's Arts Quad to Barton Hall, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a 1954 Cornell graduate, will deliver approximately 20 minutes of remarks, and Lehman will deliver his formal inaugural address in an installation ceremony that begins at 2 p.m.

Lehman will have a conversation with Ithaca-area community leaders at 9 a.m. in the Tompkins County Public Library. (Ezra Cornell, the university's founder, established the city's first public library.) Academic lectures will be presented at 10 a.m. on campus by renowned architect Richard Meier, Cornell Class of 1957; Narayana Murthy, chairman of Infosys Technologies Ltd. and a Cornell trustee; and Cornell professors Kenneth McClane, the W.E.B. DuBois Professor of Literature, and Alice Fulton, award-winning poet and professor of English.

Lehman is the first Cornell alumnus to serve as president of the university, having earned his bachelor's degree from Cornell in 1977. A native New Yorker, Lehman was born in Bronxville and grew up in White Plains and Bethesda, Md. As an undergraduate, he majored in mathematics and graduated with distinction in all subjects. He earned two advanced degrees at the University of Michigan: a J.D. from the Law School, where he was editor-in-chief of the Michigan Law Review , and a master's in public policy from the Institute of Public Policy Studies.

Lehman served as law clerk to Chief Judge Frank M. Coffin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and to Associate Justice John Paul Stevens of the U.S. Supreme Court. He practiced tax law with the Washington, D.C., law firm of Caplin & Drysdale. He joined the faculty of the University of Michigan Law School in 1987 and has been a visiting professor at the Yale Law School and the University of Paris. He was president of the American Law Deans Association from 2001 to 2003.