Ithaca, N.Y. — Cornell announced Tuesday that Elizabeth Garrett will become the 13th president in the university’s history.

Cornell has never had a female president before Garrett.

Elizabeth Garrett

Garrett comes to Cornell after leaving USC, where she served as provost. She’s a fourth generation graduate of the University of Oklahoma.

“I am honored to have been selected as the next leader of this remarkable institution,” Garrett said in a statement.

“…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.”

She will replace current President David Skorton, who steered the university through the financial crisis after taking the post in 2006. Skorton will be departing on June 30, 2015, to head the Smithsonian Institution.

What are her management qualifications?

— As USC’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.”

— She is on the USC Health Systems Board that oversees three hospitals and 18 clinical practices.

— Previously, Garrett was USC’s vice president for academic planning and budget.

What are her academic interests?

— She is the Frances R. and John J. Duggan Professor of Law, Political Science, Finance and Business Economics, and Public Policy, according to Cornell.

— Her primary scholarly interests are about “the legislative process, the design of democratic institutions, the federal budget process and tax policy.”

— She has written more than 50 articles and the co-author of the “most influential casebook on legislation and statutory interpretation,” according to Cornell.

— Garrett will also join the Cornell Law School with a joint appointment in the Department of Government, according to Cornell.

Does she have a record of public service?

— Garrett was appointed in 2005 to serve on the Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform by former President George W. Bush.

— She also served as a commissioner on the California Fair Political Practices Commission from 2009 to 2013.

— Garrett was also the 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, according to the university.

A press conference was held on the Cornell Law Campus Tuesday. (Courtesy of the Cornell Store)
A press conference was held on the Cornell Law Campus Tuesday. (Courtesy of the Cornell Store)

This news is breaking. Check back for updates.


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Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.