January 28, 2016

Garrett Named UVa’s Distinguished Alumna

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President Elizabeth Garrett will be awarded the University of Virginia’s 2016 Distinguished Alumna Award, the University of Virginia announced Wednesday.

Garrett, who graduated in 1988 from the UVa School of Law, was selected for the award by the Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center. When nominating Garrett, UVa Law School Dean Paul Mahoney commended Garrett for her vision of higher education that she has advanced since arriving to Cornell’s campus last July.

Succeeding President Emeritus David J. Skorton on July 1. Garrett has outlined a vision for higher education centered around “enhancing the student experience,” while defending the high costs that higher education institutions have come under fire for in recent years.

“Our mission is to train the next generation of leaders, and to produce creative scholarship and work that moves us closer in the search for truth,” Garrett said in an interview with The Sun on Sept. 1. “We not only perform discovery-driven research, but we also work to bring that out into the world and have it make a difference.”

Since the start of her tenure, Garrett has prioritized expanding Cornell’s study abroad opportunities, the Engaged Cornell initiative, Cornell Tech and Cornell’s global presence.

She has embarked on initiatives that included a challenge to administrators to cut costs and streamline processes, a reorganization of the upper level administration and most recently the controversial proposal for College of Business, which was announced last December.

Mahoney also cited Garrett’s previous leadership at the University of Southern California, where Garrett previously served as provost, and her scholarship and work in the areas of democracy, legislative process and tax reform in his nomination of Garrett for the Distinguished Alumna Award.

Before her time at USC, Garrett served as a professor of law at the University of Chicago, where she also worked as the university’s deputy dean for academic affairs. Garrett also clerked for US Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall early in her career after graduating from UVa Law School.

In April Garrett will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award and speak at UVa. The award, which was established in 1991, aims to “honor alumnae whose contributions at the highest level have brought about progress in a wide range of fields,” according to UVa.