July 1, 2015

New era begins, as President Garrett arrives on campus

Elizabeth Garrett official portrait
Robert Barker/University Photography
Elizabeth Garrett begins her tenure as Cornell's 13th president today, July 1.

The administration of Cornell President Elizabeth Garrett officially began today. Her formal installation as Cornell’s 13th – and first female – leader will be held Friday, Sept. 18, at 10 a.m. on the Arts Quad.

In a message sent to faculty and staff today, Garrett said she is looking forward “to learning from you about the full breadth of Cornell and to working with you on a shared quest: to make Cornell an even more distinguished and distinctive university with a deep commitment to the life of the mind that is expressed through discovery, creativity, intellectual and societal engagement, and impact that spans the globe.”

Since being named president Sept. 30, 2014, the former University of Southern California provost and senior vice president for academic affairs has been immersed in all things Cornell. She spoke regularly with former President David Skorton to effect a smooth transition. Garrett was consulted on major decisions, such as the selection of new deans for the ILR School and the Faculty of Computing and Information Science and the new vice president for student and campus life, and she has been leading the search for a new provost. Garrett attended several major university events including homecoming, Charter Day and the Los Angeles and San Francisco sesquicentennial celebrations.

She also met with policymakers and other Cornell stakeholders in Albany and Washington, including at the Supreme Court of the United States with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ’54 and her former University of Chicago faculty colleague Justice Elena Kagan. She discussed the future of the university with alumni and supporters in Philadelphia, New York City and Boston. Just a few weeks ago, she visited Cornell in Rome, meeting several students and faculty studying creative writing over the summer.

Garrett, who received a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Oklahoma and a law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law – and who clerked for Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall – also is a tenured faculty member in the Law School with joint appointments in the Department of Government in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management.

Garrett said this summer she will be getting to know more about the Ithaca campus and will be spending time in New York City, meeting faculty at Weill Cornell Medical College and visiting the Cornell Tech campus. Beyond campus, Garrett said she is looking forward to exploring the Ithaca community and discovering the beauty of the region, and she has plans to meet with local business, civic and political leaders.