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Cornell University names Pollack as its 14th president

By Eric Reinhardt


ITHACA — The Cornell University board of trustees on Nov. 14 unanimously elected Martha Pollack as the school’s 14th president.

Pollack currently serves as provost and executive VP for academic affairs at the University of Michigan, Cornell said in a news release.

Pollack will assume the presidency at the Ivy League school on April 17, 2017.

Cornell’s presidential-search committee selected Pollack. The university formed the committee following the March 6 death of then-president Elizabeth Garrett.

Hunter Rawlings, III, who has served as Cornell’s interim president since April 25, will remain in his current role through April 16, 2017, the university said.

Pollack said she is “humbled and honored” to be the choice.

“As a private university with a public mission, Cornell is the embodiment of my own deeply held belief in the ability of knowledge to improve the human condition. I can’t wait to get started, and I look forward to meeting and working with Cornell’s outstanding faculty, students, staff and alumni in Ithaca, New York City and around the globe,” Pollack said in the release.

The university held a luncheon in Pollack’s honor on Nov. 14 at the Statler Hotel’s Carrier Grand Ballroom.

At the luncheon, Pollack outlined several wide-ranging areas that she will focus on as Cornell’s president, according to a separate university news release. Those areas include “reinforcing the university’s academic strengths and determining where investments are needed to solidify those distinguishing areas of strength; ensuring the continued excellence and importance of core liberal arts; enhancing diversity and ensuring an inclusive campus climate; and tightly interweaving the activities” of the school’s Ithaca and New York City campuses.

Pollack also noted the need for innovation and creative ways to ensure a “stable financial future” for Cornell.

Cornell has about 21,900 total students, 1,650 faculty, and 8,100 employees, according to its website, citing fall 2015 statistics. The university, founded in 1865, has 14 colleges and schools.

Michigan tenure
Pollack has served in her current position at the University of Michigan since 2013.

As Michigan’s chief academic officer and chief budget officer, she is responsible for the “academic enterprise,” overseeing the academic programs.

Michigan has more than 43,000 students with over 16,000 faculty and staff, generates annual operating revenues of $3.4 billion, and includes 19 schools and colleges.

Prior to becoming provost, Pollack served the University of Michigan as vice provost for academic and budgetary affairs, dean of its School of Information, and associate chair for computer science and engineering in the university’s department of electrical engineering and computer science.

She has been on the faculty at Michigan since 2000.

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