May 7, 2004

Cleese's Term May Be Extended

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John Cleese’s term as an A.D. White Professor-at-Large, which is slated to end in June, may be extended an additional two years, according to Gerri Jones, the administrator of the A.D. White Professor-at-Large program.

Jones said that selection committee for the program unanimously endorsed a two-year extension for the hugely popular professor. As an A.D. White Professor-at-Large, Cleese, billed as the “tallest and fifth nicest” of the Monty Python troupe, visits Cornell about twice a year and ably and entertainingly lectures on topics ranging from the human consciousness to facial recognition.

The committee’s recommendations have now been forwarded to President Jeffrey S. Lehman ’77 and the Cornell Board of Trustees. From May 27 to 30, the Board will consider the proposal.

“I have asked that the director of academic personnel get in touch with me as soon as the board has made a decision on our program’s recommendations,” said Jones. “At that time, the appointments will be secured and made public.”

Cleese, whose term began in 1998, has been praised as a man with “enormous energy and generosity to Cornell.” In addition to standing-room only lectures on screenwriting, management and his own movies, Cleese has engaged in discussions with Cornell professors, characterized by the feeling that Cleese was “a colleague rather than an entertainer,” according to Prof. Steve Ceci, human development and Cleese’s faculty sponsor.

Past A.D. White Professors-at-Large have included such luminaries as primatologist Jane Goodall, archaeologist L.S.B. Leakey and astronaut Mae C. Jemison, M.D. ’81.

Archived article by Michael Morisy
Sun Senior Writer