Elizabeth Garrett, Cornell University’s first female president, died this morning at Weill Cornell Hospital. Elizabeth was undergoing treatment for colon cancer, something that she had announced back in September. Using her words, it was an “aggressive treatment plan,” according to the Cornell Sun. There’s a chance that her death resulted in complications following the treatment.
She had served as President for less than a year when she died. She was only 52.
Elizabeth’s Work Before Cornell
Prior to Elizabeth’s inauguration at Cornell, she had worked at the University of Southern California. There she oversaw USC’s 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, according to the USC.
Even before that, Elizabeth had been apointed by George W. Bush to serve on an Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform.
Here is the official statement from Robert Harrison, Chairman of the school’s Board of Trustees:
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