After ‘transformational’ tenure, Pollack to retire June 30

President Martha E. Pollack, who oversaw the creation of significant interdisciplinary programs, including a new school of public policy; expanded the affordability and accessibility of a Cornell education; and whose navigation of the COVID-19 pandemic made Cornell a role model for institutions around the world, will retire on June 30, after serving for more than seven years as the university’s 14th president.

Provost Michael I. Kotlikoff will serve as interim president beginning July 1. At that time, Pollack will be given the title of president emerita by the Cornell Board of Trustees in recognition of her contributions and legacy.

“Serving as the president of Cornell has been an amazing privilege; there are few roles that afford so much opportunity to make a positive difference in the world,” Pollack said. “After seven fruitful and gratifying years as Cornell’s president – capping a career in research and academia spanning five decades – I’m ready for a new chapter in my life. I greatly appreciate the continued support of our Board of Trustees and the many faculty, students, staff and alumni who have shared words of encouragement through my time as president, especially over the past academic year.”

Under Pollack’s leadership, the university created the Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy; named the Cornell Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science and the Cornell Peter and Stephanie Nolan School of Hotel Administration; launched new programs in areas ranging from sustainability and digital agriculture to artificial intelligence and design and technology; and expanded external research expenditures by nearly 50%. She also oversaw upgrades to academic facilities, including the ongoing construction of a new building for Cornell Bowers CIS and the multidisciplinary Atkinson Hall.

Over the course of her tenure, Pollack has significantly expanded the accessibility and affordability of a Cornell education, from increasing by 1,000 the number of undergraduates receiving grant-based financial aid to creating a debt-free education program at Weill Cornell Medicine, among other measures. She enriched and enhanced the student experience in numerous ways, including through the Active Learning Initiative, which now reaches around 10,000 students a year; the implementation of an Intergroup Dialogue Program for all incoming undergraduate students; and the expansion of mental health services.

Click here to read the full article.