Elizabeth Garrett, Cornell University’s first female president, died late last night at her home in New York City after receiving treatment at Weill Cornell Medicine for colon cancer. She was 52.
“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,” the Chair of the Board of Trustees Robert Harrison ’76 wrote in an email to the Cornell community this morning. “There are few words to express the enormity of this loss.”
Who was Elizabeth Garrett?
Garrett had taken office as the first female leader of Cornell on July 1, 2015. Less than a month ago, after announcing her cancer diagnosis, she decided to scale back her work load to take care of herself.
Prior to her inauguration at Cornell, Garrett had worked at the University of Southern California where she served as USC’s provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, according to the University.
Before that, Elizabeth had been appointed by George W. Bush to serve on an Advisory Panel for Federal Tax Reform.
Full Official Statement:
Dear Cornell Community,
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.
Robert S. Harrison
Cornell University Board of Trustees
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Elizabeth Garrett’s friends and family during this difficult time.
[Via The Cornell Daily Sun]