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President Ithaca, NY

We are pleased to announce that Ithaca College has named La Jerne Terry Cornish has as its tenth president.

Cornish has served as interim president of Ithaca College since last summer. She joined Ithaca College as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs in July of 2018 and was later named provost and executive vice president.

Since her arrival at Ithaca College as provost, Cornish has played a significant role in decision-making processes related to the academic direction of the institution, including the launch of the Physician Assistant Studies graduate program and the recently announced creation of the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance. Cornish worked with the entire campus community to develop and begin the implementation of the Ithaca Forever strategic plan, which provides a blueprint for a sustainable future for the college. In addition, during one of the most difficult times in the college’s history, she helped ensure that students and faculty were able to successfully navigate the challenges of the pandemic.

Prior to joining Ithaca College, Cornish taught at Goucher and served from 2014-18 as associate provost for undergraduate studies. She was Goucher’s first African American alumna to be awarded tenure and the first African American to serve as both chair of the faculty and associate provost for undergraduate studies. For those achievements, among others, she was honored with the Goucher Distinguished Alumnae/i Award in 2016.

Cornish had previously held various teaching and administrative positions for 15 years in the Baltimore City Public School System, piloting the Maryland’s Tomorrow Middle School Program. In addition to her work in the public and private education sectors, she served as a commissioned lay pastor at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Baltimore, where her ministerial focus had been congregational nurture and care.

Cornish holds a doctorate in language, literacy, and culture from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; a master of education degree with a concentration in urban and diverse learners from Goucher College; and a bachelor’s degree in English, also from Goucher. She has been a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, the first intercollegiate historically African American sorority, since 1984.

Kate Barry led this search with Karen McPhedran and Stephanie Simon.

Please refer to the Ithaca College press release for more information.

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