"As you set out for Ithaka, hope the voyage is a long one, full of adventure, full of discover," President Garrett said in her inauguration address.
The first female president of Cornell, Elizabeth Garrett succeeded President Emeritus David Skorton. Garrett assumed the presidency on July 1, 2015 and was inaugurated on Sept. 18, 2015. She was previously the provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at the University of Southern California. Following a battle with colon cancer, Garrett died at the age of 52 on March 6, 2016.
The sky was clear on the bright, sun-filled morning just a year ago when Cornellians gathered on the Arts Quad to celebrate the start of the next chapter in Cornell’s history. During Homecoming, the community met for the inauguration of our 13th president, marking the closing celebrations of our sesquicentennial year. With the statue of Ezra Cornell looming in the background, Elizabeth Garrett stood strong, detailing her vision for Cornell at home and abroad. Just months later, over 1,000 Cornellians gathered at the same site, but now on an overcast afternoon. Facing toward Andrew Dickson White this time, we gathered in silence as the chimes rang commemorating President Garrett’s time on the Hill.
President Emeritus Hunter R. Rawlings III will return to the Hill once again to serve as interim president after he was unanimously appointed by the Board of Trustees Thursday. Rawlings will take the helm of the university on April 25, succeeding President Elizabeth Garrett after her death from colon cancer on March 6. Rawlings, 71, will serve until Cornell’s 14th president assumes office, with an international search to fill the position set to begin in the coming months, Board of Trustees Chair Robert Harrison ’76 said Thursday. As Cornell’s 10th president, Rawlings served from 1995 to 2003. This will be his second term as interim president, the first of which took place between 2005 and 2006 after President Emeritus Jeffrey Lehman ’77 resigned.
Cornellians gathered in Stocking Hall to honor the late President Elizabeth Garrett by sharing the ice cream flavor that Garrett helped create. The Thursday event sponsored was by College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Kathryn Boor ’80, the dean of CALS, discussed Garrett’s key role in creating the ice cream flavor called 24 Garrett Swirl, describing how involved the president in sculpting the dessert. “As we were working towards the President’s inauguration, she worked with a team here in the dairy processing plant in Stocking Hall to come up with her flavor of ice cream,” Boor said. “She, her sister and her niece sat together and tasted the different flavors that the processing plant had put together for them.
My grandfather’s casket was not as heavy as I expected. It was dark brown, or maybe it wasn’t; I’m not sure. The night before I had tried to read one of his books, thinking this would be one of those moments that someone else might want to write about in their book. I would read this academic essay on the twilight years of the Soviet Union, and hear this familiar voice, which would call from the letters of the page, reminding me of who I had lost. But I couldn’t find my grandfather in a chat about glasnost, so I just sat watching his daughters sort through his postcards, and his books, and his hats.
The suit I was wearing had been purchased the day before from a store called SUITS.