Elizabeth Garrett, USC provost, named Cornell's 13th president

From left, Jan Rock Zubrow, chairman of the Presidential Search Committee; Elizabeth Garrett, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at the University of Southern California; and Robert Harrison, chairman of the board of trustees, speak at a press conference to announce Garrett as the 13th president of Cornell, Sept. 30.

The Cornell University Board of Trustees today approved the appointment of Elizabeth Garrett, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at the University of Southern California, as Cornell’s next president. Garrett will assume the presidency July 1, 2015.

The board’s approval followed the selection of Garrett by a Presidential Search Committee that was formed in March 2014 after current President David J. Skorton announced he would be leaving Cornell on June 30, 2015, to become the next secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. Garrett will be the first woman to lead the university.

“I am honored to have been selected as the next leader of this remarkable institution,” Garrett said. “Cornell is one of the world’s truly great universities, with a stellar commitment to excellence in teaching, research, scholarship and creative activity, linked with a deep commitment to public engagement. I am excited to join the Cornell community and to work with the faculty, staff, students and alumni to chart the next chapter in its illustrious history. Andrei and I also look forward to joining the vibrant Ithaca community.”

Garrett is married to Andrei Marmor, professor of philosophy and the Maurice Jones Jr. Professor of Law at USC, who will be joining the Cornell faculty as a full professor with joint appointments in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Law School.

“I am proud today to welcome Beth Garrett as the next president of Cornell University,” said Robert Harrison, chairman of the board of trustees. “Beth has not only distinguished herself as an inspirational leader, thinker and scholar, but she also embodies the values and traditions that have placed Cornell at the forefront of the increasingly global field of higher education. She is going to be a great president.”

Garrett was appointed to her current position at USC in October 2010. As the university’s second-ranking officer, she oversees the USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences as well as the Keck School of Medicine of USC and 16 other professional schools, in addition to the divisions of student affairs, research, libraries, information technology services, student religious life and enrollment services. She also is actively involved in the Keck Medical Center of USC, sitting on the USC Health Systems Board that oversees three hospitals and 18 clinical practices, as well as chairing the Keck Medical Center Oversight Committee.

She is the Frances R. and John J. Duggan Professor of Law, Political Science, Finance and Business Economics, and Public Policy, and she served previously as USC’s vice president for academic planning and budget. Garrett’s primary scholarly interests include legislative process, the design of democratic institutions, the federal budget process and tax policy. She is the author of more than 50 articles, book chapters and essays, and is co-author of the nation’s most influential casebook on legislation and statutory interpretation, now in its fifth edition. At Cornell, Garrett will be a tenured faculty member in the Law School with a joint appointment in the Department of Government in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Garrett has an exemplary record of public service. In 2005, President George W. Bush appointed her to serve on the nine-member bipartisan Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform. From 2009 to 2013, she served as one of five commissioners on the California Fair Political Practices Commission, the state’s independent political oversight agency, and was a co-chair of its Subcommittee on the Political Reform Act and Internet Political Activity. Before entering academics, Garrett served as budget and tax counsel and legislative director for Sen. David L. Boren (D-Okla.) and clerked for Justice Thurgood Marshall on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Garrett was elected a Harold Lasswell Fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Science and is a member of the Council of the American Law Institute. She serves on the board of trustees of Internet2, which aims to accelerate research, advance education, and improve the delivery of public services through innovative technologies.

Before joining the faculty of USC, she was a professor of law at the University of Chicago where she also served as deputy dean for academic affairs. She received her B.A. in history with special distinction from the University of Oklahoma and her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law.

Marmor is the author or editor of 10 books, including the recent “The Language of Law” (Oxford University Press, 2014). He directs the USC Center for Law and Philosophy and is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy. He received his LL.B. and B.A. in philosophy from Tel Aviv University and his D.Phil. from Oxford University.

“Our six-month search for Cornell’s next president has reached an exciting and historic conclusion,” said Jan Rock Zubrow, chairman of the Executive Committee of the board of trustees and of the Presidential Search Committee. “As we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Cornell’s founding, we are proud to add Beth to the long line of exceptional Cornell presidents. Her talents, experience and vision make her the ideal choice to lead Cornell into its next 150 years.”

Zubrow led a search committee of 19 individuals representing a cross-section of Cornell constituencies, including trustees, faculty, undergraduate and graduate students, employees, the Weill Cornell Medical College and Graduate School of Medical Sciences, senior administration, and alumni. The committee was aided by two former board chairs who served as advisers.

“I congratulate the search committee on its terrific choice of Elizabeth Garrett as Cornell’s 13th president,” said Skorton. “I look forward to working closely with her over the coming months to ensure a smooth transition and a successful start to what I am confident will be her exceptional tenure at Cornell. Robin joins me in welcoming both Beth and Andrei to the Cornell family.”

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