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Cornell University Selects First Woman President

Cornell University

Cornell University's 13th president will be a woman, the first ever to lead the institution.  The Cornell University Board of Trustees Tuesday unanimously selected Elizabeth Garrett to take the helm next summer.  In a release from the university, chairman of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees and of the Presidential Search Committee Jan Rock Zubrow , says "Our six-month search for Cornell's next president has reached an exciting and historic conclusion. 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."

Garrett brings a wide-ranging background in education and government to Cornell.  She has served as  the provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at the University of Southern California since October of 2010.  Garrett has written over 50 articles, book chapters, and essays.  She served on the nine-member bipartisan Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform in 2005.   Garrett also served as a commissioner on the California Fair Political Practices Commission from 2009 to 2013.  Before her position at University of Southern California, Garrett served as budget and tax counsel and legislative director for Senator David L. Boren and clerked for Justice Thurgood Marshall on the U.S. Supreme Court.  She also worked as a professor of law at the University of Chicago.

The chairman of the board of trustees, Robert Harrison, says of Garrett, "I am proud to welcome Beth Garrett as the next president of Cornell University. 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."

Credit Cornell University
Elizabeth Garrett addresses Cornell University's Board of Trustees before the election

Elizabeth Garrett accepts her position with gratitude. She says, "I am honored to have been selected as the next leader of this remarkable institution. 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 write the next chapter in its illustrious history."

Garrett will take over as president July 1, 2015. Current president, David J. Skorton, will retire on June 30, 2015 to become the next secretary of the Smithsonian Institution.