By NOAH RANKIN
As part of Tuesday’s presidential announcement, Elizabeth Garrett drafted a message to all Cornellians describing the reasoning behind her acceptance of the presidency, a position she said was a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity.
“Cornell is committed to academic excellence, as exhibited each day by remarkable and talented faculty, students and staff,” Garrett said. “In every school and department, they conduct breakthrough research and creative work that lead to innovation, improve lives throughout the world and contribute to the search for truth.”
Part of this “truth,” Garrett wrote, is the University’s emphasis on the liberal arts, which she calls “a commitment that is critical to our future prosperity as a society and our fulfillment as human beings.”
This focus on liberal arts and the humanities echoes the remarks in a Washington D.C. keynote address made by incumbent President David Skorton in 2011, in which he called the study of the humanities a “critical endeavor” that “can help us grasp where we come from, and why, in order to lead us into the future.”
Garrett also highlighted the connection Cornell has between the surrounding areas of Ithaca and the broader New York State — which she found to be exemplified through Cooperative Extension programs and the New York City campus — as well as the University’s focus on inclusion.
“Cornell is fundamentally shaped by its founders’ lasting vision of a university built on egalitarianism, inclusion and public engagement, as well as the breadth and diversity of ways in which this vision continues to be expressed across the University,” Garrett wrote.
Garrett closed her message with praise for Skorton’s achievements and a desire to join the Ithaca community with her husband, Andrei Marmor, professor of philosophy and the Maurice Jones Jr. professor of law at USC. Her final words were directed at all members of the University.
“I will visit the campuses in Ithaca and other locations several times in the next months, and I am looking forward to the start of my term of office on July 1, 2015, when we will embark on our future together,” Garrett said.