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Cornell taps UM provost to lead Ivy League school

Ian Thibodeau
The Detroit News

Martha Pollack, the University of Michigan’s provost and executive vice president, will become the president of Cornell University in the spring.

The Cornell University Board of Trustees elected Pollack on Monday. She’ll assume the new role April 17.

“I am humbled and honored to have been elected to lead this great university,” Pollack said in a news release.

“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 was selected by a presidential search committee formed at Cornell after former President Elizabeth Garrett died in March.

Pollack became provost at the University of Michigan in 2013, where she has been responsible for academic enterprise.

“I am delighted to welcome Martha Pollack as Cornell’s next president,” said Robert S. Harrison, chairman of Cornell’s board of trustees, in a release.

“She is the perfect person to take the helm of Cornell at this important moment in our history. She has successfully managed a comparably complex institution and is a bold thinker who will inspire our faculty and students in Ithaca and across all of our campuses...”

Pollack will be Cornell’s 14th president.

Pollack said she will remain at Michigan though January. An interim president, Hunter R. Rawlings III, has been leading Cornell since shortly after Garrett’s death.

“The search committee set out to find a bold and strategic leader who would engage the entire Cornell community in furthering the university’s core mission,” said Jan Rock Zubrow, chairman of the executive committee of the board of trustees and of the presidential search committee, in a news release. “In Martha Pollack, we have found that person, and more.”

Pollack has studied artificial intelligence and has been a faculty member at Michigan since 2000. She also is a professor of information and a professor of computer science and engineering.

Pollack received her bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and a master’s degree and doctorate in computer and information science from the University of Pennsylvania.


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Twitter: @Ian_Thibodeau

The Associated Press contributed.