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Announcing David J. Skorton, the next president of Cornell University

Letter from Peter Meinig

Saturday, January 21, 2006

To all members of the Cornell community: faculty, students, staff, alumni, and friends,

I have the great pleasure of announcing that Dr. David J. Skorton, president of the University of Iowa, has been chosen as the next president of Cornell University. The board approved his appointment enthusiastically at a special meeting held today in Ithaca. He will assume his responsibilities as Cornell's 12th president on July 1, 2006. Hunter R. Rawlings will continue to serve as Cornell's interim president until that date.

An eminent physician, scholar and seasoned academic leader, David has established an impressive record of accomplishment. He served for more than twenty years in a variety of faculty and executive positions at the University of Iowa before becoming president in March 2003. David is an avid supporter of the arts and humanities. He declared 2004-05 the Year of the Arts and Humanities, with a competitive grants program, two major arts festivals and dozens of events on the campus of the University of Iowa and throughout the state. In addition he serves, as does Cornell Provost Biddy Martin, on the Association of American Universities/American Council of Learned Societies Humanities Steering Committee.  David has demonstrated a deep commitment to excellence in interdisciplinary higher education and a thoughtful appreciation for the role a publicly-supported institution plays in society. David impressed our colleagues on the Search Committee with his deeply held personal commitment to diversity and the importance of access for people from all walks of life. We are delighted that he will be bringing to Cornell his wide range of talents and warm personality.

Our new president's many interests and valuable experiences will help accelerate the convergence between our campuses in Ithaca and New York.  In this respect, I am also pleased to report that David will hold faculty appointments in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at Weill-Cornell Medical College (WCMC) in New York City, and in Biomedical Engineering, at the College of Engineering on the Ithaca campus. His research focuses on cardiac imaging, computer image processing, and congenital heart disease in adolescents and adults, and he has published extensively in all three areas.

We are also fortunate to welcome Dr. Robin L. Davisson, David's wife, who is an associate professor of anatomy and cell biology at the University of Iowa and a rising star in her own right. Robin will join the Cornell faculty with a joint appointment in Biomedical Sciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine on the Ithaca campus and in Cell and Developmental Biology at Weill-Cornell Medical College in New York City.  David's son, Joshua, is currently an undergraduate studying at Stanford.

David, himself, has been active in his community, and is an avid musician who plays saxophone and flute and co-hosts a weekly jazz program on the University of Iowa's public radio station.

David was selected from a number of outstanding candidates after an extensive search and consultation with all segments of the Cornell community and educational leaders around the world. We are grateful to Fellow Trustee, Diana Daniels, and her 26 colleagues on the Presidential Search Committee for their hard work and commitment to doing the very best to recruit our next president.

For your further consideration, additional information about David and today's announcement, including video coverage, are available on the university's web site at

I am confident you will find our new president to be a man of astonishing scope and accomplishment - much like our own university - and I hope you will join my colleagues and me in welcoming David Skorton and Robin Davisson to the Cornell community.


Peter C. Meinig
Chairman of the Board of Trustees