Ithaca College Introduces 10th President
ITHACA, NY (WENY) -- Monday afternoon, Dr. La Jerne Terry Cornish became the 10th president of Ithaca College in the institution's 129 year history. Cornish had been serving as the interim president since August of last year following Shirley Collado's departure over the summer.
President Cornish's speech in front of the Board of Trustees and alumni was live streamed for the Ithaca community. In 2018, Cornish became the Provost of Ithaca College, a position that she says helped prepare her for becoming president. "You know, one of the things that I had to do being the provost before was: I was focused solely on the academic unit of the college. Being the interim president afforded me the opportunity to elevate and expand my thinking to every area of the college."
Ithaca's new president is as passionate about the Ithaca area as she is dedicated to her career. When Cornish was given the opportunity to become the next president of Ithaca, she realized it was something she wanted to do. "My wife is a principal here in the school system. We love this community, and so, I thought, who better than me to lead, given the opportunity so to do," Cornish said. Deborah Ptak, President Cornish's wife, is the principal of Lehman Alternative Community School in the Ithaca City School District.
Still, with all of the hope and positivity President Cornish had in her speech, she was practical about the future of Ithaca College. President Cornish noted it could take years for Ithaca College, like many other institutions, to recover from all the effects of COVID-19. Despite this, Cornish believes the Ithaca community can accomplish anything if they work together.
President Cornish hopes to lead Ithaca College with three words as her guide: intentionality, connection and care. "Those will be the guiding words that inform what we do moving forward."