Today marks the first day of Martha Pollack’s term as 14th president of the University. The Board of Trustees elected Pollack as the next president, the second female president in Cornell’s history, announced in November.
“I am honored to begin my service today as Cornell University’s 14th president and to join all of you in shaping the future of this distinguished institution,” Pollack said in a statement sent to Cornell students Monday morning.
In her anticipation for her new role, Pollack stressed that Cornell is at a pivotal moment in its history, particularly with Cornell’s diffusion from Ithaca into New York City.
“With its deep academic and cultural roots in Ithaca and its expanding presence in New York City, Cornell is at an exciting moment, with burgeoning intellectual collaborations across all its campuses that are creating, curating and communicating knowledge and providing unrivaled opportunities for teaching, learning and societal contribution.”
Pollack previously served as provost at University of Michigan. Noting that she shares a professional background with five previous Cornell presidents at University of Michigan, she emphasized the similarity between both schools in her statement.
“I come to Cornell from the University of Michigan, which shares many of Cornell’s fundamental values,” she said. “Its commitment to discovery through research, scholarship and creative activity; its dedication to teaching and learning; its belief in egalitarianism and in the importance of diversity; and its determination to serve the greater good through public engagement.”
Since the death of Elizabeth Garrett, 13th president of the University, Hunter Rawlings has served as interim president. Having served both as a president and three terms as interim president, Rawlings has left a legacy at the University that Pollack revered.
“I am grateful to Hunter and Elizabeth Rawlings, who have brought enlightened leadership and their personal warmth to the university over more than two decades, including during some very difficult times,” the statement read.
Anticipating her need to understand the “full breadth and depth of Cornell,” Pollack called on Cornellians to support in her transition as president.
“I am looking forward to our work together and, with your help, to making Cornell an even more distinguished and distinctive university.”
Pollack’s official inauguration will be held on Aug. 25 2017.