Dean's Message

President Garrett walking with Dean Boor and NYAES Director Susan Brown
From left, President Elizabeth Garrett with CALS Dean Kathryn J. Boor and New York State Agricultural Experiment Station Director Susan Brown. Photo: Jason Koski

As I write this, the Cornell community is mourning the sudden loss of our university’s 13th president, Elizabeth Garrett. President Garrett’s death from colon cancer has hit us especially hard as she was just beginning to move forward with her motivating vision for the university.

In her brief eight months leading Cornell, President Garrett proved to be an eager partner and supporter of CALS, our students, our faculty and our college’s research. In fact, the first contact I had with President Garrett was after she read about Associate Professor of Microbiology Ian Hewson’s research on sea star wasting disease. In addition to being a lawyer and a scholar, President Garrett was an avid scuba diver, and I was heartened to see how enthusiastically she embraced the value of our research.

President Garrett was deeply engaged in all facets of the university. During the summer and fall she toured our Geneva and Ithaca campuses, joined us at the New York State Fair for Dairy Day, and got an up-close look at the research and innovation for which our college is world-renowned. It was clear from these interactions that President Garrett would be a tireless advocate for our college and our shared vision.

Even though she had not been here long, President Garrett had already zeroed in on our college’s key priorities, and she was actively working toward strengthening them. We will continue to build on her enthusiasm for how CALS is leading science and education toward a resilient future. We benefited from her leadership and vision. And as the first female president of Cornell, she was an inspiration to us all.

In her inauguration speech, President Garrett emphasized how all of us are on a continuing journey of exploration: “I am confident that we will lead the world in creating new paths to knowledge, discovery, and the many ways we can move closer to the truth, and in launching our students on their own voyages.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Kathryn J. Boor
Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences