Provost Martha Pollack named president at Cornell University


University of Michigan Provost Martha E. Pollack on Monday was named president of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

Pollack, who has served as U-M provost since 2013, said she was “humbled and honored” to have been selected to lead Cornell, which she called a private university with a public mission.

Martha Pollack

She said Cornell was the “embodiment of my own personal belief in the ability of knowledge to improve the human condition.” She will continue in her role at U-M through Jan. 31, 2017, and begin her duties at Cornell April 17.

President Mark Schlissel called Pollack’s accomplishments “extraordinary” during her 16-year career at U-M.

“She has led our efforts to hold down tuition, boost financial aid, reduce class sizes and enhance the quality of Michigan’s world-class education,” Schlissel said.

“She has spearheaded major academic initiatives including Poverty Solutions, diversity, equity and inclusion, and the Humanities Collaboratory. She has recruited many terrific new deans and other leaders for the campus and helped us hire and retain numerous outstanding faculty members. Her establishment of U-M’s first enrollment management office has brought us talented and increasingly diverse students.”

Schlissel said he would announce an interim provost before the end of the fall semester. He plans to assemble a search advisory committee and launch a national search for the university’s next provost in January.

As the chief academic and chief budget officer at U-M, Pollack is responsible for an academic enterprise that serves nearly 45,000 students on the Ann Arbor campus throughout the university’s 19 schools and colleges. The U-M academic enterprise has annual operating revenues of $3.4 billion, including a general fund budget totaling $1.94 billion.

Pollack joined the U-M faculty in 2000 in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. She rose through the ranks to become associate chair of her department, dean of the School of Information, and vice provost for academic and budgetary affairs before being named provost.

At Cornell she will have tenured appointment in the departments of Computer Science and Information Science.

She will become Cornell’s 14th president, succeeding Elizabeth Garrett, who died March 6. Hunter R. Rawlings III has served as Cornell’s interim president and he will continue in that role until Pollack starts next year.

Pollack received her bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College, completing a self-designed interdisciplinary major in linguistics. She earned her M.S.E. and Ph.D. degrees in computer and information science from the University of Pennsylvania.



  1. Darrell Griffin
    on November 15, 2016 at 11:57 am

    Congratulations to Martha Pollack for her appointment as president of Cornell University. Recent events show she will have her hands full. I have been told that Cornell now has “crying rooms” for those students who cannot “handle” the election of Donald J. Trump. Crying rooms? It looks like we have become a society of people many of whom have the bodies of adults and the emotional constitutions of two year olds. Best advice, Dr. Pollack: tell them to grow up.

    • Mitch McConnell
      on November 15, 2016 at 8:41 pm

      She’ll have her hands full because of the hate crime propagated by Trump supporters.

Leave a comment

Commenting is closed for this article. Please read our comment guidelines for more information.