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Cornell President retires after serving for over seven years

Cornell+University+President+Martha+Pollack+will+be+retiring+from+Cornell+University+June+30+according+to+a+message+she+shared+with+the+Cornell+community.
Courtesy of Cornell University
Cornell University President Martha Pollack will be retiring from Cornell University June 30 according to a message she shared with the Cornell community.

Cornell University President Martha Pollack announced that she will be retiring on June 30 after serving in the position for over seven years.

In her message to the community, Pollack said she made the decision to retire in December, but was stopped from acting on it three times because of issues on and off campus that needed attention. She said she decided to make the announcement now to give the college time to make a smooth transition and to avoid interfering with the commencement ceremony May 25.

“I understand that there will be lots of speculation about my decision, so let me be as clear as I can: This decision is mine and mine alone,” Pollack wrote. “After seven fruitful and gratifying years as Cornell’s president — and after a career in research and academia spanning five decades — I’m ready for a new chapter in my life.”

Pollack also acknowledged that her time as president has been full of unexpected challenges and events, such as a global pandemic and the current Israel-Hamas war that has reverberated through campuses across the country. Cornell especially has recently faced criticism for temporarily suspending four students for their involvement with a pro-Palestinian encampment on campus.

Pollack said in the message that even as issues continue to arise, she has faith in the Cornell community’s ability to overcome any obstacles it faces.

“There will be plenty more to do over the coming months and years,” Pollack said. “Higher education has come under attack from many quarters, and our core values have faced enormous pressure. And yet, my faith in the positive role that universities like Cornell play in our society is stronger than ever.”

The Cornell University Board of Trustees will give Pollack the title of president emerita, an honorary title that is granted to a former president after they serve for an extended period of time, on July 1, the same day Cornell University Provost Michael Kotlikoff will take over as interim president. Kotlikoff’s term will last two years while the board forms a committee to hire Cornell’s 15th president.

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