“Dear friends, We have just learned of the sad death of Elizabeth Garret, as President of Cornell University. We cannot express the sadness we feel at this time. We remember Elizabeth as a fine and kind woman who was always so full of energy. She will be sadly missed by many. We know that words can give little consolation to relieve grief but we should like you to know that we too will be grieving for her. Finally, we express our heartfelt condolence to her family and the members of Cornell University. In deepest sympathy,”
“The University of Southern California’s Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) Program is deeply saddened by the news of Elizabeth Garrett’s passing. She was a great supporter of and advocate for the WiSE Program from the time she became Vice Provost through her tenure as Provost at USC. The WiSE faculty networking group was first to invite her for a visit when she became the Vice Provost, and she was a great role model to many. Beth was an inspiration, breaking through the glass ceiling time and again, as the first woman Provost at USC and then as the first woman President of Cornell University. She will be greatly missed, but her legacy will live on for many years to come.”
— University of Southern California Women in Science and Engineering
“On behalf of the Executive Board and membership of the Cornell Black Alumni Association (CBAA), we extend our heartfelt condolences to the family, friends, and loved ones of Cornell President, Elizabeth Garrett, in her passing. The first female president of Cornell University, President Garrett’s presence represented bold steps towards equitable representation in university leadership, while her ideas and strategies exemplified the innovative thinking necessary to continue Cornell’s legacy of excellence across areas of research, engagement and intellectual inquiry. As part of the Cornell community, we mourn the loss of President Garrett, and are also thankful for the time we were able to spend with her. Mr. Marmor and family, you are in our thoughts and prayers at this time of bereavement.”
— Michelle Brown-Grant '88 and the Cornell Black Alumni Association
“I would like to extend my deepest condolences to President Elizabeth Garrett’s family, friends and colleagues. President Garret was a remarkable leader with energy and vision, who has made significant achievements in higher education. My memory of her dated back to the days when she was the Provost at USC. Her passion for pursing academic and research excellence had led to a number of pioneering joint initiatives with HKUST, including the innovative World Bachelor in Business program in partnership with Bocconi University in Milan. She was also a caring and thoughtful person. When we visited Cornell last October, she warmly welcomed us and graciously hosted us dinner at her house. Of course, the discussion was stimulating and inspiring as expected, and I was again impressed by her enthusiasm for new ideas as well as for building global strategic relationships. Her passing came as a shock to me personally and is not only a great loss to Cornell, but also to the academia as a whole. She will definitely be missed as a leader and as a person.”
— Tony F. Chan, President, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST)
“Many of my family members have attended Cornell University including my daughter Alanna. As a Colon Cancer Fighter for twelve years, I was so sad and angry to find out that this sneaky disease that is so preventable took the life of another very young and vibrant woman. My thoughts and prayers go out to her family. I am sure she will help fight this disease from the heavens above.”
— Michele Lattimore Sedor
“I join in the chorus of condolences to President Garrett's family, to her friends and colleagues, and to the Cornell community all over the world. I was honored to represent Johns Hopkins University last September for the Inauguration of President Garrett. I was excited for the leadership and vision. In her short time as President, she brought so much that will forever ring sweetly in the history of our illustrious alma mater. My prayers and condolences to all. Thank you, President Garrett, for your service to our beloved Cornell.”
— John Rawlins III '06
“We are saddened by the news of the untimely passing away of President Elizabeth Garrett. We send our heartfelt condolences to her husband and family. We have been away from campus on sabbatical this year and did not have a chance to meet President Garrett personally. Our enduring memory of her, then, will be of the great surprise and pleasure we experienced when President-to-be Garrett made an unexpected appearance at the last year’s Sesquicentennial Presidential Panel, “The Future of Higher Education.” Sparkling, vivacious, and looking just a bit mischievous in her bright red dress, she spoke of the task she was about to embark on with an enthusiasm that was infectious. That her life was cut short too soon is a tragedy for Beth and her family, and a great loss for all who are members of the Cornell community. Her dynamism, care, and commitment will be sorely missed. From Brett de Bary (Asian Studies and Comparative Literature) and Victor Nee (Sociology)”
— Brett de Bary and Victor Nee
“Our classmates echo the many words of sympathy for the family and close friends of our president Beth Garrett. Her remarkable dynamic spirit and caring will remain an inspiration to everyone.”
— Joan Johnson, class correspondent, Cornell class of 1965
“As a Cornell alumna, I was so very proud of Cornell's first woman president, Elizabeth Garrett. Although her tenure was tragically brief, she has touched us all in deep and important ways. Cornell has been enriched by her presence and her legacy is a significant one. My deepest condolences to her family, friends, and loved ones. May she rest in peace.”
— Merih Dagli Odonoghue MD '88
“We extend our heartfelt sympathy to President Garrett's family and friends and our gratitude for her exemplary life and inspiring leadership during her time at Cornell.”
— Frank McCreary, President of Cornell Class of 1965
“President Garrett's speech at the graduation ceremony influenced me deeply and I was moved by the full of cultral atomosphere of Cornell at that time.Though I am not in Cornell,not in the USA,I express my condolences from my heart.¿¿¿¿¿”
— Sen Gao
“Our hearts go out to the Garrett and Marmor families and to the Cornell community today as they gather for the memorial for President Elizabeth Garrett. Earlier this year, it was our privilege to acknowledge Beth’s leadership in academia and public service with UVA’s 2016 Distinguished Alumna Award. Beth will be remembered with great affection at UVA and held up as a powerful example of using one’s gifts for the greater good. The accomplished members of the higher education and legal professions who recommended Beth during our award nominations last fall spoke with one voice of the brilliance, warmth, practicality, grace, and sense of humor for which she was so well known and loved. Reflecting on 30 years as her colleagues and friends, they expressed tremendous admiration for how fully she lived the University of Virginia values of citizenship and service. Not many people can be described as being both awe-inspiring and entirely approachable, but when we heard more than one anecdote in which she knitted calmly while successfully navigating the most intense classes and Law Review meetings, it was clear to us that she truly was both. Leigh Ann Carver Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center at the University of Virginia”
— Leigh Ann Carver
“I am a Cornell alumna, graduated in 1990 with a Master of Science ( Adult, Extension and Continuing Education). I read the sad announcement of President Garrett's passing on March 8th (Philippine time) which was International Women's Day. It deeply saddened me on that day, knowing that she was the first woman ever to break the glass ceiling at Cornell. I was extremely happy when she was installed as the first female president of Cornell in 150 years, and have been following news about her and Cornell. Now I am extremely sad over her passing after only a very short stint as Cornell's leader. Rest in peace, President Garrett. I hold Cornell University and your family in my heart today and pray that another empowered woman with your vibrancy and vision will once again steer the University in the very near future.”
— Teresa Bumanglag San Buenaventura
“My condolences to the Marmor and Garrett families. I first heard President Garrett when she spoke at the 2015 Convocation, and then I met her during Hanukkah, at the lighting of the Menorah in Ho Plaza. She was gracious and unassuming. I am honored to be at an institution where she was at the helm. President Garrett has a lit a flame that will never be extinguished.”
— Joseph Binder '18
“We wish to send our condolences to the Marmor and Garrett families. President Garrett was a visionary whose work , ideas and commitment will forever impact Cornell.”
— Elizabeth Fuertes-Binder, Parent of Joseph '18
“I knew Beth Garrett as a law student, as the host of a law review symposium, as a colleague, as a co-author, and always as a friend. When she was a law student and I was a professor at the University of Virginia, she picked me up at the lowest point in my professional career. She had an incandescent smile, a positive can-do attitude, and a generosity of spirit that will live with me always.”
— William Eskridge, Yale Law School
“My heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of President Elizabeth Garrett. This is a very sad time in the Cornell community. RIP Elizabeth Garrett, and " May God hold you in the palm of his hand." Terry Davis, Arts and Science '68”
— Mary McKeegan Davis '68
“Our daughter is attending her first year at Cornell, we were so happy to find out President Garret being the first woman after 150 years. In her short time she did a lot for Cornell. We are deeply sad and we send our sincere condolences to her family and the Cornell Staff and students.”
— Maria and Robert Becker
“The Washington, DC area Cornell community was privileged to receive a visit from President Garrett. Her talk and her responses to questions indicated a great future for the university under her leadership. Her untimely death is a major loss for our university. Of course, it is an even greater loss for her friends and family. May we all take comfort in our memories of her. Bruce Waxman ILR'64”
— Bruce Waxman
“I did not have the pleasure to meet her in person, but I know she was doing a fantastic job as Cornell's President. condolences to President Garrett's family, and friends. Daniel Duque”
— Daniel Duque
“My experience with President Garrett was limited to the 2015 Convocation Speech for the incoming freshman class. I found it truly inspiring and thought how lucky my son was to be attending Cornell University. To all her family and friends, our family's sincerest condolences, Sean, Virginia and Dylan Weil”
— Sean Weil
“I share your grief , and hope that the family will remember the good thing that Elizabeth has accomplished , hold her up and share with the world her loving quality that made her great . Cancer took my wife three years ago and is a disease that takes far to many of our loved one cherish the memories that you have of Elizabeth and share them with the Cornell Community”
— Robert Parlett '81-83
“My condolences to the family of President Elizabeth Garrett whose leadership facilitated WCM to ensure we strive beyond our mission.”
— Jacqueline Finch
“We are deeply saddened by the passing of President Elizabeth Garrett and would like to express our sympathy to her family and the Cornell community on behalf of the students in the World Bachelor in Business Program. President Garrett was highly regarded in the academic world and her passing is a loss to everyone. During President Garrett’s tenure as the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost of University of Southern California, she envisioned the future of global business education and was instrumental in the creation of the first-of-its-kind World Bachelor in Business undergraduate program. Such vision has transformed the lives of us and many of those who come after us. Her legacy shall never be forgotten.”
— World Bachelor in Business, Class of 2017 , 2018, 2019
“I wish to extend my deepest condolences to the family of Elizabeth Garrett and all who had the privilege of working under her leadership in Day Hall on the Cornell campus. I remember meeting her when she came to campus last summer and being so proud on that breathtakingly beautiful fall day on the Arts Quad when she was inaugurated as our President from among all the qualified applicants for the position. All we attorneys and Cornell women took an extra measure of pride in her for her accomplishment as our first woman President. Even within such a brief period of time, Beth made her mark on Cornell with her seriousness of purpose, great humor, work ethic which is all the more amazing given the illness we did not realize she was battling. The sense of shock and mourning was palpable in the hallways and offices of Day Hall last week. My heart goes out to all who knew her best and loved her most.”
— Marilyn (Moriah) Tebor Shaw
“My heartfelt condolences to President Garrett's husband, family, and friends. The Cornell community mourns beside you during this difficult and seemingly unfair time. She will be sorely missed. CALS Alum, Class of 2012”
— David Chan
“"As you set out for Ithaka hope the voyage is a long one, full of adventure, full of discovery." When I heard Elizabeth Garrett recite these words from the poet CV Cavafy in the midst of her inspiring inaugural address just six months ago, I dearly hoped her journey with us at Cornell would be a long one indeed. This brilliant and charismatic woman held such great promise, possessing the leadership talent to navigate these challenging times in higher education while staying true to our mission. I am deeply saddened by this loss and send my sincere condolences to her family.”
— Suzanne Mettler
“Beth's first official Cornell event was a small dinner at my home several months before she started. The other Cornell guests inundated her with questions (as Cornellians will do!). I kept trying to jump in and shout "She hasn't even started yet, give her some time!" but to my surprise she answered every question as a knowledgable seasoned president using facts, figures and demonstrating a great detailed grasp of the University. Most of all she was lively and vivacious and very enthusiastic. I am so sorry that we will never know what her combination of smarts and personality would have brought to Cornell.”
— Cathy Merrill Williams '91
“I'm so proud to have had a President from my home state, Oklahoma, who was an outstanding scholar and liberal thinker. I feel a great emptiness that she's gone and that I didn't have the opportunity to greet her when she would have gotten around to visiting the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station where I work. I was holding on to the small chance that I could tell her that we were contemporaries as undergrads at the University of Oklahoma. It really meant so much to me personally that she was here. Oklahoma liberals, scholars, artists and leaders are known world-wide but not with the celebrity of expats from more exciting places. I gained such a sense of pride and confirmation that I was not alone and that a fellow Okie made history as the first woman President of Cornell University.”
— Mandy Economos
“As both a Cornell alumna and a current parent of a Cornellian, I was, and remain, very proud of the inauguration of Cornell's first woman president and deeply saddened by her way-too-short tenure. I was captivated by her plans for the raising the university's profile in the US and around the world (I live in London). Seeing her obvious enthusiasm for Cornell and her joy in her leadership role only magnifies the tragedy of this great loss. My deepest condolences to her family.”
— Julie Carlin-Sasaki, Arts & Sciences 1983 and Cornell parent 2018
“No words can express our feeling of sadness and loss over the news of Elizabeth Garrett’s untimely passing. As a distinguished legal scholar and academic administrator with remarkable intellect, she joined the ranks of celebrated personages heading some of the top universities in the world. She will be missed and her legacy as a visionary leader will be remembered.”
— President Way Kuo, City University of Hong Kong
“Although I did not have the opportunity to meet her personally, I was impressed by President Beth Garrett's energy, intelligence, and enthusiasm. May we all benefit from knowing such a dynamic individual and recognize the blessings she bestowed on us. Best wishes and peace to her family, friends, and colleagues.”
— Nancy Preston
“My deepest condolences to Andrei and to the Garrett family and to the entire Cornell community. Beth was a great friend and an inspiration. She was fearless in her quest to do what was best for Cornell and tireless in her pursuit on our behalf. The legacy she established in her all too brief tenure will guide Cornell for years. She will be missed by all whose lives she touched. On behalf of Ann and all our family, thank you for touching our lives in such a meaningful way.”
— Andrew H. Tisch, Vice-Chair, Cornell Board of Trustees, and, more importantly, friend.
“Elizabeth, Thank you for your service to our beloved Cornell! Rest in peace!”
— Vincent Curran '87
“From the Clarkson University community to Elizabeth's family and all at Cornell, our deepest condolences - her radiance and energy were already shining across the world of higher education and beyond. It is a great loss for all of us.”
— President Tony Collins
“The academic community has lost a brilliant legal mind and an enthusiastic scholar. I was fortunate enough to not only be a student in Professor Garrett's Civil Procedure class at USC Law School, but also work closely alongside her as her research assistant during my first and second year. We engaged in a number of political debates, but it was always a respectful discourse and I admired her tenacity and intellect on virtually every political subject. Given the fact that we followed very different paths, she may not have realized what an impact she had on my legal education - but there is no doubt that I was inspired by her passionate spirit and in awe of her many accomplishments. She was a mentor, a teacher, and a friend that I will always remember fondly. I am profoundly saddened by such a tremendous loss much too soon. "One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the student." - Carl Jung”
— Alexandra J. Campbell, USC Law '06
“I was not in a position to know President Garrett at all well, but I was fortunate to be touched by her intelligence and humanity enough to miss her as a person as well as a leader. On July 1, 2015, I received an email announcement about President Garrett's first day on the job. I somewhat spontaneously sent a short note of welcome to Ithaca and Cornell, addressed to To my very great surprise, the next day I received a friendly, brief response from "Elizabeth Garrett". The President expressed her interest in getting to know Centers and Institutes like the one I work in at a future date, inasmuch as we were part of "the rich complexity of Cornell." A week or so later, I happened to be seated at a lunch table adjacent to that at which the President and former President Rhodes were eating. Brief introductions ensued. I was inspired by the personal contact to look up some of her published journal articles online. The next time I found occasion to send her a short note, reacting to some of her published comments about the University's land grant mission, I received a friendly note of thanks from "Beth". I never talked to her again in person, but did have several additional opportunities to correspond by email. Every response from her was simultaneously thoughtful, responsive, and efficient. The last time I sent her a note was shortly after her cancer diagnosis was made public. Again much to my surprise, she responded: "I have much to be grateful for..." I am grateful to have gotten a glimpse of her as a person, as well as a leader and an intellect. I mourn her passing.”
— David Kay
“I could tell when she walked in the room, that President Garrett's top priority was the success and well-being of the students here at Cornell. She was so vibrant and kind when we met at Cornell's 150th Birthday Celebration. She talked with students, wanted to get to know them, and created a welcoming atmosphere. I always saw her with a smile on her face and the ambition in her eyes to positively impact the Cornell community. She did so much good in her short time here, and I am saddened that we will never see the rest of the good she surely would have done. My sincere thoughts and prayers are with her family.”
— Kelly Callens
“I was so excited and thrilled when President Garrett became our first female president. I was hoping that my daughters would have the opportunity to have her as their president. It is sad that we only had her for such a brief time.”
— Lisa Bautista-Doerr HumEc '92
“On behalf of the alumni of the Delta Chi Chapter of Delta Kappa Epsilon, I would like to extend our condolences to the Marmor and Garrett families in this time of loss. Elizabeth Garrett was a charismatic leader for Cornell, and I am very sorry that she left us so quickly. I know that the family and the broader Cornell Community will find comfort in the fact that she gave so much to us during the time that she was able to share with us.”
— Bob Platt '73 Law '76
“Heartfelt condolences to Beth Garrett's life partner, family and many friends and colleagues. My personal encounters with her were few, but she struck me as a person with great intelligence, wit, vision and energy, and it is our great loss that she was taken from us so soon.”
— Cynthia Robinson
“My heartfelt sympathy to Elizabeth Garrett's family and the entire Cornell community. She was a brilliant lady and Cornell was fortunate to have her involved with the University. What a tragedy.”
— Linda M. Davis
“Although it is very sad that Elizabeth Garrett is no longer with us, she will without question continue her leadership by raising the awareness of the importance of regular screening for colorectal cancer, which has a high survival rate if caught early.”
— William Martin
“We are deeply sadden by the loss of President Garret. A truly remarkable individual who offered Cornell a bright future. While her stay with us was short, she was able to provide a vision of the new frontiers that could be achieved by our already amazing school. She will be dearly missed. Our deepest condolences go out to her family, all members of her staff and the Cornell community. Saul Levy Father of Marco Levy, SHA ‘19”
— Saul Levy
“President Garrett was an incredible woman. We were present at her inaugural address many months ago, and we felt great about her words full of hope and ambition. I extend my sincere condolences to her family, colleagues and friends. May she rest in peace, and we will always be missing her here at Cornell.”
— Jihed Hadroug
“To the Garrett and Marmor families - We wish you peace to bring you comfort, courage to face the days ahead and loving memories to forever hold in your hearts.”
— Lisa Brodman - Parent of Griffin '16
“It is really hard to hear and not easy to understand the death of Presiden Garrett. I wish her husband and family from the bottom of my heart to be strong in this darkest hours. Rest in peace President Garrett.”
— M. Deickert
“President Elizabeth Garrett will always be remembered with her commitment to excellence in academia and her visions for Cornell community. She will live on in many students’ and parents’ - including us, parents of a Cornellian - memories as a dedicated leader and president. Murat Soygenis, Honorary Dean and Professor of School of Architecture, Yildiz Technical University Istanbul, AIA RIBA PhD Sema Soygenis, Dean and Professor of School of Architecture and Design, Bahcesehir University Istanbul, PhD”
— Murat Soygenis
“I have heard only great things about President Garrett and am saddened to hear of her passing. I extend my sincere condolences to her family and friends and all Cornellians. My thoughts are with you during this difficult time.”
— Sara
“A true loss to her family, friends, and loved ones and to both of our wonderful universities. I did not know her personally but attended events where she was present. One of my cute memories of her was riding the elevator with her. We were going to the same event and running a few minutes behind. She started chatting with me like we were two girlfriends on an adventure. I loved her down to earth persona. Her smile, brilliance, and dedication will be missed. She has gone home where I know she is already making a difference.”
— Zivia Sweeney
“This is such sad news. I still remember the news when she was appointed to the Presidency of Cornell University. As a woman, I was so happy and proud of the news. Although her presidency was very short, she really made a difference at Cornell. She will always be remembered. May she rest in peace and may her family find comfort during these difficult times.”
— Elizabeth Suarez
“I still remembered the day I facetimed with my mom in China and told her we would have the first female president in Cornell soon. Time flies but President Garrett's complishments and help of the whole Cornell culture is crucial. Rest in peace, President Garrett!”
— Bo Yang '18
“Beth Garrett was the outside reader on my Ph.D. dissertation from Rutgers University (Political Science). She was one of the most engaging, prolific and good-natured people I have known in academia. I first heard her give a talk at the Eagleton Institute of Politics (Rutgers) in 2002, and I had the pleasure of sitting at her table as we talked about everything from Bush v. Gore to college football. (She was from Oklahoma; I am from Nebraska.) We realized we had common scholarly interests, which led to her involvement with my dissertation and eventually some research mentoring while I was early in my career at Lehigh University. I was stunned and saddened to read of her death. She was an amazing person who will be missed by many.”
— Brian Pinaire
“I heard President Garrett speak in Washington just a few short months ago. I was so inspired by her energy and enthusiasm and her clear vision for the future of this great University. What a loss for Cornell, for the students, and most of all for her family. My deepest condolences. May you take comfort in knowing how many people she inspired in such a very short time.”
— Karen See '80
“You were a great achiever, an accomplished educationist and a wonderful human being. What stands out for me though, was the grace with which you carried yourself, your achievements and accomplishments. I am proud to be a student when you were Provost at SC. God bless your soul and may He forgive your sins!! Ameen!! Malik Khan USC'12.”
— Malik Muhammad Zaki Murtaza Khan
“I never met President Garrett, I was looking forward to meeting her at my 50th reunion in June. When first came to Cornell I sent her an e-mail welcoming her. I wrote her on July 30th and she e-mailed back on August 3rd! I was certain someone had done it for her, but a person who had met her told me that it was, in fact, most likely from her. Today I went looking for the e-mail she sent. In re-reading it I was struck by how individual it was. "Thank you for your note. I am excited to be at Cornell, and have learned a fair amount in the short time I’ve been on campus already. I have met several people with Oklahoma connections including Justice Ginsburg, who also spent time in Lawton when her husband was stationed at Fort Sill. I’m glad to hear you are keeping with your father’s tradition. This year’s Homecoming will be particularly special for me, as we are combining the weekend with the Presidential Inauguration. I know Mike and I will enjoy working together, and we are both looking forward to working with our colleagues to begin to move forward. I look forward to seeing you at Reunions. Sincerely, Elizabeth Garrett" We have indeed lost a very special person.”
— Marian Wood Meyer
“You were such an amazing and a truly accomplished person. Your legacy lives on, fare thee well.”
— Robert Kwarteng
“My father died of colon cancer, too. Please take comfort in the fact that President Garrett's influence on the world will not be erased as long as someone remembers her, says her name, and I'm sure that this will be done for a long time yet. I'm so sorry you're going through this.”
— Tsee Yung Lee
“I express my sincere condolences to the President Garrett's family and to the Cornell comunity at campus. Even such a very sad event remids me once more of the greatness of our University. The speech that she gave at 2015 Convocation for New Students is inspirational, positive, uplifting, full of devotion to new Cornell students that embarked on an endless journey of knowledge, learning, passing on the wisdom and creating all over again and again. I have been so proud to be a Cornellian. Thank you, President Garrett, may your wonderful energy forever shine over Cornell. I will continue to give my best to carry on our noble tradition. Peter Savli, DMA 99'”
— Peter Savli, DMA 99'
“Like so many others, as I viewed the images that were posted online of the moment of silence on the Arts Quad, I thought back to how much attending President Garrett's inauguration in September had meant to me as both an alumna and an educator. It's so hard to believe that just six months ago, we were facing a stage on the opposite side of the quad and listening to her deliver an extremely inspiring address. Her time among us has been cut short, but her vision will live on in our hearts. My sincere condolences to President Garrett's family, friends, and the whole Cornell community”
— Beverly J. Evans '74
“Beth visited my lab during a tour of the College of Veterinary Medicine soon after her arrival in Ithaca. A few lab members had prepared brief 1-2 minute talks about their research, but I told them that she would be very rushed, and not to expect her to linger too long with us. I also told them not to expect her to ask too many questions. I was wrong on both counts! She went out of her way to meet and greet everyone in lab, and was completely engaged and excited about our research. She lit up the room with her enthusiasm and her pure joy of learning something new. She reminded me that, as educators, we should be as excited about learning as we are about teaching. In the brief 20 minutes she spent with us, she left an indelible mark on every single student and postdoc in the lab, and I shall forever aspire to have a similar impact on those around me.”
— Paula Cohen
“My deepest condolences to the Garrett family and to Cornell University. When President Garrett visited alumni in Seattle recently, she blew in like a dynamo, offering vibrant ideas for Cornell's future and the feeling that everything was possible. She will be sorely missed.”
— Meredith Goldstein
“I never knew President Garrett, but I most certainly did know Beth Garrett at the University of Virginia School of Law, where her brilliant mind, focused energy, and superhuman organizational strategies were already in evidence, but also her warmth and sense of humor (it was over 25 years ago and I can still hear her laugh). As I remember it, many days after class, a few of us traipsed over to her apartment, shared with a fellow Oklahoman, to study or eat or talk about law and "L.A. Law". . . . Although we took different paths and fell out of touch, her sudden death shook me like few others have; her departure is a terrible loss in many ways, and not least because these are times where we all desperately need such dedication, wisdom, and creativity in our leaders.”
— James Oles, Art Department, Wellesley College
“Beth's first visit to Cornell was as a faculty workshop speaker at the law school in 1996. Even then, as a young law faculty member, she was an amazing presence. She had a quick mind and displayed an unusual combination of sobriety and humor. I was truly delighted when it was announced she would become Cornell's President. It is sad to contemplate the work left undone by her untimely loss. I take some small comfort in recognizing that she spent her career in service of the kinds of institutions that will someday provide the means to treat and cure the illness that cut her own work tragically short. We have lost a both a colleague and tireless servant of the mission we all share.”
— Jeffrey Rachlinski, Henry Allen Mark Professor of Law
“Let me add my voice to those expressing deep, deep sadness over our community's terrible loss and send my sincerest condolences to President Garrett's family. We all feel this loss so personally because President Garrett, in addition to being a brilliant scholar and inspiring leader who was just beginning to offer those gifts to Cornell, was the face of the place where so many of us found our path in life and built friendships that remain strong all these many years later. So we were all richer for her having been part of our community, even if far too briefly.”
— Bill Silberg '76
“My condolences go out to Professor Marmor and their families during this difficult time. I was lucky enough to meet President Garrett on several occasions, and even shared the stage with her at her annual address to staff. I will always remember how funny, honest, and candid she was - on stage and off. The Cornell family has lost a great leader. May she be in peace and know no pain.”
— Billy Kepner, Cornell Plantations and Vice Chair for Communications Cornell Employee Assembly
“This is my first year at Cornell, as I am a transfer student. I arrived the same year as President Garrett. I still walk around campus contemplating how I ever received the privilege to be here. Every day it continues to be new to me, there is so much to explore and to contribute to. I never got the chance to meet President Garrett in person, though I am sure that she too experienced this awe in the present and the possibility. Just as I feel, she was proud to walk through campus and know that she could make a difference, and to help others know they could too. I am so sorry that her time was cut short, but that doesn't mean that her impact will not radiate and flourish for many years to come, and evoke the awe of others who walk her path. I pray for the peace of her family, friends, and the entire Cornell community. Thank you President Garrett- for your strength, for your leadership, and for your commitment to helping us all achieve our greatest.”
— Erin Krichilsky
“May you rest in peace President Garrett! My deepest sympathy to President Garrett's family.”
— Yuchao Jiang '12
“When I saw my colleagues from the inauguration committee on Monday I wept. We were gathered on the Arts Quad at 4 pm for a moment of silence followed by the playing of the chimes in honor of Beth Garrett. Just a few hours earlier the news had broken that Cornell’s Thirteenth President, Elizabeth Garrett, had passed away after only a few months in office. Under cloudy skies, hundreds upon hundreds of students, faculty and staff gathered on the Arts Quad last Monday. In shock and sadness we came together to honor our magnetic young president. Normally animated students and outspoken faculty were very quiet. Hands crossed and heads bowed, everyone was present – within themselves and among the other members of this Cornell community. Standing in front of the AD White statue on Monday, I could not help but look over to the place on the other side of the quad where only a few months earlier we came to celebrate Beth’s beginning. On that beautiful sunny September day, it felt as though everything was possible. As we marked the conclusion of our first hundred and fifty years, we were inaugurating a dynamic, fearless change maker to start us on a path to a new future. Recalling that day this past Monday, I felt a deep sense of loss for what might have been. I have my own imagination of what might have been. Beth was deeply committed to the liberal arts. She understood that humanistic understanding is essential for navigating complex problems, and provides an important foundation for a rich and meaningful life. She knew as well that the pursuit of curiosity-driven research in the sciences and beyond is an investment in the future, since the discoveries of today often contribute to the inventions of tomorrow. A commitment to students and the residential educational experience was also fundamental for Beth. She understood that a high quality college education has the power to transform lives. But Beth was also not afraid of change. Part of what drew her to Cornell, I think, was Cornell Tech – and the spirit of entrepreneurship and reinvention expressed there. She was ready to bring that inventive energy to the rest of the university as well, and to challenge us to imagine our roles in new and creative ways. She supported new teaching approaches, called for us to become more globally engaged, saw the university as a leader in fostering dialogue over difficult topics, asked us to be disciplined and strategic in our choices and investments, and encouraged the development of new interdisciplinary research areas. For all of this, and for her sense of infectious optimism, she will be greatly missed.”
— Gretchen Ritter, Dean of Arts & Sciences
“Sincerest condolences to the family of Elizabeth Garrett. As a scholar, innovator, and leader among leaders, her light will continue to shine like a star for many, many more generations to come, guiding young women and men of the 21st century and beyond to be firsts in countless other areas of our world, even as she was the first in her career. I pray that our Heavenly Father would bless her family and friends with peace that surpasses all understanding, and leave upon the Cornell family a special touch of grace to rise courageously into the mantle Elizabeth Garrett leaves behind for all of us.”
— Danny de Gracia, 2013 eCornell Marketing Strategy Alumni
“Our deepest sympathies to President Garrett's family and to the Cornell community. We are terribly saddened by her loss. Memory eternal.”
— John and Antigone Wank, parents of Leah '19
“I was honored to have the opportunity to join with some of my colleagues in hosting President Garrett on a tour of the Department of Art at Cornell. During her visit she reached out to make connections with students working in studio and she shared her pleasure about selecting artworks from the Johnson Museum collection for installation in her new home. I understand that she visited every unit on campus shortly after her arrival in Ithaca. I was touched by this simple act of President Garrett making the effort to get to know the University community.”
— Carl Ostendarp
“Beth could light up a room with her intellect and her smile. Her confidence was contagious and being in her presence made you believe in a bright future for Cornell. She will be missed and she will be remembered.”
— Daniel Mansoor '79 MBA '80
“We are so saddened at the loss of Elizabeth Garrett, and that our daughter will not be graduated by such a distinguished woman.”
— Dr & Mrs Nathan R Anderson, parents of Martha '16
“Elizabeth Garrett was one of the first Cornell presidents to allow herself to be photographed wearing a "bunny" suit when she came for her cleanroom tour at the Cornell NanoScale Facility. The photo is one of my favorites! She has on her huge winning smile and her interest in our facility shines through. Elizabeth will be terribly missed.”
— Melanie-Claire Mallison
“I have never met Dr. Garrett in person. My sympathy to the faculty, staff and students and alumni on the loss of the president. My sympathy to the family of Dr. Garrett. It is a great loss to us all.”
— Lenka Hospodka, Class of 76, Hotel School
“Our deepest sympathy to the Garrett family and the entire Cornell family. May her memory be a blessing The Kovar family”
— Elyse and Andrew Kovar, Parents of Max '15 and Josh '19
“Coming in as a freshman and learning that we were going to have the first female president in Cornell history, made me so happy and proud to be a woman myself. I listened to her speech and what her goals were for the university and I knew that she would accomplish them. She gave off the impression of someone who was determined, a leader, and genuine. It hurts me that she is no longer with us but I hope that her wishes and goals are still being worked on in order to accomplish them. Thank you President Garrett for having such a huge positive impact on myself and the Cornell Community. May you rest in peace.”
— Sharonee Vaca
“I came to Cornell as a new grad student at the same time when president Garrett came. As a Chinese student, even though far away from home, Cornell university seems a new home to me with warm and welcome smiling on our president's face, always. I did not get the chance to talk to her or even met with her on the road, but looking at every picture of her, I was so touched by her great smile. I would remember that smile as a symbol both of president Garrett and Cornell University. I believe smile of president Garrett would always give me courage and strength with rest of my life. Thank you, my dearest president, Elizabeth Garrett, queen in my heart. May you rest in peace. I would always remember and mourn you.”
— Yanlei Feng
“The first and only time I saw President Garrett deliver a speech in person was at a joint board meeting at Weill Cornell Medicine on January 29, 2016. I was very proud to hear such an eloquent delivery of an inspiring message about Cornell’s future. She was genuine and confident. I took note because I have a lot to learn when it comes to public speaking. The following week - February 28, 2016 - we all received notice that she had colon cancer. Though I did not know President Garrett personally, I think I know the kind of person she was - brave and honorable. I think that is the legacy she has left with our university.”
— Robert Shepherd, Assistant Professor, College of Engineering
“Even though her time at Cornell was short, Beth Garrett has left her mark on this great institution through her vision to "heed the call to be radical and progressive" and her leadership as she set the course for the next 150 years. Her passing is a loss not only for Cornell and her many friends and family but for the world. She will be missed.”
— Diana M. Daniels, '71 Cornell Trustee Emeritus
“My encounter with President Garrett was brief, but memorable. She came to the medical college this past fall and I met her during the reception. I introduced myself, and she replied, "I'm sorry, Danny, I would shake your hand but both of my hands are full eating cookies." We both laughed and I had a cookie too. From what I have heard this level of warmth and conviviality was the norm for Elizabeth Garrett.”
— Danny Kramer, student at Weill Cornell Medical College
“When Beth Garrett first spoke to faculty on campus last spring she immediately made an impression. Here was a person with great leadership skills: vision, intellect, eloquence, decisiveness and good judgment. As we got to know her we learned that she had a gift not just for asking questions but also for listening. She was warm, funny, modest, and showed a rare ability for making people feel at home. The last time I saw her was at an event with students in December. I noticed with great admiration how she tried to talk to everyone there and I could see how deeply it was appreciated. Her passing is an enormous loss for us all. Beth will be deeply missed.”
— Barry Strauss, Chair, Department of History, Cornell University
“What a tragedy for someone with so much potential to be taken so quickly. President Elizabeth Garrett was a visionary, whose promise to make Cornell University the best in the world was truly believable. I only met her once, but was really hoping to work with her in the next year. Truly a loss to all of us.”
— Dawn S McWilliams, Director of Marketing and Communications, Cornell Engineering