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Harrison announces death of President Elizabeth Garrett

Robert S. Harrison ’76, chairman of the Cornell University Board of Trustees, sent the following message to the Cornell community March 7:

It is with utmost sadness that I write to inform you that our president, colleague and friend, Elizabeth Garrett, passed away late last evening after a brave battle with colon cancer. There are few words to express the enormity of this loss.

Beth was simply a remarkable human being – a vibrant and passionate leader who devoted her life to the pursuit of knowledge and public service and had a profound, positive impact on the many lives that she touched. In this regard, she was the quintessential Cornellian. From the moment I met her during the presidential search, it was clear to me that she had the intellect, energy and vision not only to lead Cornell, but to be one of the greatest presidents in our 150-year history. While Beth’s tenure as president has tragically been cut short, her efforts over the last eight months have set the university on a path toward continued excellence. She will leave a lasting legacy on our beloved institution and will be terribly missed.

We will honor Beth’s memory with a moment of silence, followed by chimes, this afternoon at 4:00pm EST. I invite you to mark this moment either by yourself or with colleagues and friends. Plans will soon be made for a memorial gathering on the Ithaca campus in the near future. We will share details as soon as they are available.

On behalf of our entire community, Acting President Kotlikoff and I offer our heartfelt condolences to Beth’s husband, Professor Andrei Marmor, and the rest of the Marmor and Garrett families.

Support services are available to all members of the Cornell community. Students may consult with counselors from Gannett Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) by calling 607-255-5155. Students may speak with a peer counselor by calling EARS at 607-255-3277. Employees may call the Faculty Staff Assistance Program at 607-255-2673. For additional resources, visit

Media Contact

John Carberry