President Pollack’s inauguration set for Aug. 24-25

Media Contact

John Carberry

President Martha E. Pollack

The inauguration of Martha E. Pollack as the 14th president of Cornell University will feature student scholarship, highlight the role of universities in the search for truth, and celebrate the community Aug. 24 and 25.

The centerpiece of the two-day occasion will be the installation ceremony, Aug. 25 at 2 p.m. on the Arts Quad. All events are open to the public.

“President Pollack asked for an inauguration that would celebrate the rich history and culture of Cornell, represent all facets of our university community, and showcase the academic achievements and outreach activities that make a difference in the people’s lives not only in Ithaca and New York City but around the world,” said Joel Malina, vice president for university relations and co-chair of the Inauguration Steering Committee.

Events kick off Thursday, Aug. 24, with the Festival of Scholarship, highlighting the breadth of student research from the Ithaca, Weill Cornell Medicine and Cornell Tech campuses. On view from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in the atrium of the Physical Sciences Building, 35 displays will feature topics as varied as early melanoma cancer detection by computers; land conservation and ecotourism; how children’s play can further childhood education; training mice to use a joystick; and the Mexican consulate’s role in immigrant labor rights.

An academic symposium, “Universities and the Search for Truth,” follows from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in Bailey Hall. Moderated by Bruce Lewenstein, professor of science communication, the symposium will explore the ways in which people produce, assess and communicate information – as well as the role of universities in those activities – through a faculty panel discussion with:

  • Kevin Clermont, the Robert D. Ziff Professor of Law;
  • Sarah Murray, associate professor of linguistics;
  • Mor Naaman, associate professor of information science at Cornell Tech;
  • Holly Prigerson, the Irving Sherwood Wright Professor in Geriatrics and professor of sociology in medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine;
  • David Shalloway, the Greater Philadelphia Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics; and
  • Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon, associate professor of English.

“In her Commencement address last May, President Pollack said that Cornell is committed to discovery, the search for truth, and freedom of speech and expression,” said Charles Van Loan, dean of the university faculty and co-chair of the Inauguration Steering Committee. “This group of faculty from diverse disciplines will provide a lively, multifaceted exploration of higher education’s roles in pursuing these commitments.”

The president’s installation ceremony, Friday, Aug. 25, will begin with a formal procession starting at 2 p.m. on Ho Plaza and making its way to the Arts Quad. Guests are asked to be seated by 1:45 p.m.

Led by University Marshal Charles Walcott, the procession will include university trustees and leadership from the Ithaca, Weill Cornell Medicine and Cornell Tech campuses; Cornell faculty, staff and students; government and education officials; and delegates representing more than 40 other universities, learned societies, and scientific and cultural institutions.

Robert S. Harrison ’76, chairman of the Cornell Board of Trustees, will preside over the installation ceremony, which will include remarks from Philip Hanlon, president of Dartmouth College, and a reading by Ishion Hutchinson, the inaugural poet and an assistant professor in the Department of English. In addition, there will be readings from prior Cornell inaugurations by undergraduate student Jaylexia Clark ’19, graduate student Aravind Natarajan, Ph.D. ’18, staff member Evelyn Ambriz ’11, MPA ’15, and Van Loan.

After her formal investiture, Pollack will deliver her inaugural address.

All living past presidents of Cornell – Frank H.T. Rhodes, Hunter R. Rawlings III, Jeffrey S. Lehman ’77 and David J. Skorton – are expected to attend.

Following the ceremony, a Street Fair on the Arts Quad will celebrate the campus and local communities with displays and activities from the colleges and units; student clubs; and musical and dance performances. Food from Cornell and local vendors will include fruit kabobs, chicken and tofu spiedies, lemon mango lemonade, Filipino fusion egg rolls and a special Cornell ice cream flavor in Pollack’s honor, yet to be revealed.

“The Street Fair showcases the skills of our staff, students, faculty and alumni – and of local enterprises – that enrich campus life for all members of the Cornell community and make Cornell and the Tompkins County area a great place to live and work,” said Mary Opperman, vice president and chief human resources officer and co-chair of the Inauguration Steering Committee. “The fair will provide a dynamic, inclusive and exuberant finale to this series of inauguration events.”

A reception for New York City-based faculty, staff and students to celebrate the inauguration will be held Sept. 14 at the Belfer Research Building at Weill Cornell Medicine.

The academic symposium and installation ceremony will be livestreamed on CornellCast. In case of rain, the installation ceremony will be held in Bailey Hall, where seating will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, and the Street Fair will be held in the Ramin Room in Bartels Hall.

More information is available on the inauguration website.


Story Contacts

Nancy Doolittle