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ITHACA, NY – Many students found themselves shocked speechless after the news of University President Elizabeth Garrett’s passing was revealed.

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“It’s something that will take time to process,” said one student.

Many students talked about how caught off guard they were by the news and how seemingly sudden her death was, describing it as sad, distressing and tragic.

Most of the students we spoke to said that they hadn’t had much, if any, direct interactions with Garrett.

Still, her brief time serving as president did inspire confidence in some. “She was looking to make great impacts on the community,” said one freshman student. “There’s a high sense of respect here. Anyone you ask would say the same thing, I think. She’ll be missed greatly.”

Many celebrated her status as Cornell’s first female president, and were saddened that she passed away so early into her presidency.

“It’s sad that she was just getting into presidential run and she had to pass away unexpectedly like that. Hopefully, the University will be able to bounce back and get another strong president,” said Shawn, a senior.

“She had a chance to do some really awesome things,” said sophomore Ava Jarvis.

Athletes Matt Sullivan and Jackson Webber pointed out that Garrett made the time to attend the athletic orientation, which most presidents do not do. “I think all the athletes really felt her support,” said Sullivan.

Other students found themselves reflecting on their own mortality. “It was very sudden, very sad. Really makes you value life, we had a pretty deep talk about life and how it can be gone so soon,” said sophmore Elliot Laguardia.

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Michael Smith

Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.