ITHACA, N.Y. — Cornell University president Elizabeth Garrett died late Sunday night, just weeks after announcing her diagnosis with colon cancer.
Garrett was the university’s 13th and first female president.
People from throughout the state have offered their condolences about her passing and the ground- shaking effect her death has on the Cornell and Ithaca community.
Below are some comments about her passing (We will be adding to this list as more comments become available):
Governor Andrew Cuomo
“I’m deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Elizabeth Garrett. Throughout her accomplished career, and especially as President of Cornell University, Elizabeth was a visionary leader who was wholeheartedly committed to furthering the education and growth of those around her. She devoted her life to creating a better future for everyone, and she understood that in order to accomplish that, part of her responsibility as a leader was to boldly challenge the status quo. As the first woman to lead Cornell University as its President, she lived that promise herself.
“Elizabeth’s passing is a great loss not only for her University, but for our state. On behalf of all New Yorkers, I offer my deepest condolences to all of her many friends and loved ones.”
Legislature Chair Michael Lane
“We in Tompkins County are shocked and deeply saddened by the tragic news about Elizabeth Garrett’s passing. In the all-too short time she was here, we came to know her as brilliant, witty, savvy, and sincere in her commitment to the community. While our partnership with her was just beginning, her vision and good will shall endure. She will be missed by all who knew her. Our thoughts and prayers are with President Garrett’s family and the Cornell community.”
Seph Murtagh, City of Ithaca 2nd Ward Alderperson
“I’m shocked and saddened to hear the news of Cornell President Elizabeth Garrett’s passing. She impressed me as a smart and capable leader with a remarkable career in higher education, and I was excited about Cornell’s future with her at the helm. It’s a tremendous, devastating loss. My thoughts are with her family, friends, and the entire Cornell community on this tragic day.”
Ithaca College President Tom Rochon
“Beth’s passing is a shocking loss for Cornell and for higher education leadership as a whole. To meet her is to be immediately impressed with her energy, her positive outlook and compelling personality, and her keen intelligence that slices right to the heart of important issues. My thoughts and prayers are with Beth and her family, and I offer my deepest condolences to the entire Cornell community.”
Peter Biedenweg ’17 History, Student Assembly Clerk
President Elizabeth Garrett’s early departure brings me both shock and sadness.
While I only spoke to president Garrett personally on a few occasions, I can tell you that from the moment I heard her unwavering voice during her commencement speech, I knew she was the intelligent, stong leader Cornell needed. She continually emphasized to us as students government involvement as a way to make a difference, and this was something that moved me and many others. While President Garrett’s short time means that we will not get to know her true vision, she was still and inspirations and leader. It will take time to learn the impact of her time at Cornell, but in the months President Garrett was on campus she made herself open to students and faculty alike and took the time to learn more about how and where she could best help. Elizabeth Garrett served as Cornell’s first female leader, and it is with this in mind that I am disheartened to learn she will not be able to do more for this university. I am deeply saddened by her passing, yet I know she will live on in history and in many student’s memory as a wonderful woman, leader, and president.