From the President

By La Jerne Terry Cornish, May 16, 2022

The path to transformation

The theme of this issue of ICView is “transformation.” Within these pages, you will find stories about students who lean into new majors, alumni who innovate, and faculty and staff who work hard to make Ithaca College a stabilizing place for students. Most of all, you will find stories that illustrate a metamorphosis in process—what it looks like to change.

Demonstrating change is more challenging than it may seem. Change happens over time, and inside our individual days. It can be difficult to have perspective in the day to day, difficult to see the points on the graph that will eventually accumulate, days or years from now, and illustrate progress as well as evolution.

In terms of my own progress, I began my career in education as a teacher in the Baltimore City Public School System. I later served as a faculty member and associate provost for undergraduate studies at my alma mater, Goucher College. In 2018, I came to this institution as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, and now I humbly write to you as Ithaca College’s 10th president.

One tenet that I’ve always kept close to my heart is that the difference between achievement and failure is persistence. One must trust in the knowledge that the cumulative effect of small adjustments, or the brief moments of courage that propel one forward through life, will one day result in individual and collective transformation.

That is why the Ithaca Forever strategic plan continues to be of the highest priority to the college. It is our goal to see Ithaca College become a national model for student success, engagement, and well-being, helping each student reach their unique potential. Additionally, our alumni network is of the utmost importance to me, and I will be traveling to different parts of the county to meet more of you. I look forward to the opportunity to learn more about our alumni network and help build a sense of community. I want to be part of that community and you, our alumni, have many ideas to share with me on how to make that happen.

This will be a challenging, community-wide effort that will take time to implement. But, I am confident that by never losing sight of the fact that we do this work in service of our students, our community can make truly transformative impacts on the overall student experience, and in our individual students’ lives.

In March of this year, Melanie Stein, former dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences and interim provost over the past year, was appointed provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. Synchronously, longtime professor and interim dean Claire Gleitman was named dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences. It is by leaning into a culture of innovation and recognizing exceptional leaders that our institution will continue to make progress.

I wish to share my immense gratitude to the Board of Trustees and Presidential Search Committee for placing their trust in me to lead this institution. I also wish to express my appreciation to our community of faculty, staff, and you, our worldwide network of alumni, for all you do to enrich the student experience at Ithaca College.

Together—with our commitment to student success firmly centered as our guide—our community will move our college ever forward as we work to realize our vision to become a global destination for bold thinkers seeking to build thriving communities.

All my best,

Dr. La Jerne Terry Cornish