Shirley M. Collado to Depart Ithaca College and La Jerne Terry Cornish to Become Interim President

By News, July 8, 2021

A message from the Ithaca College Board of Trustees.

Dear Ithaca College Community,

We are writing today to announce that Ithaca College President Shirley M. Collado will be departing to assume the position of president and chief executive officer of the comprehensive college completion program College Track, which works in collaboration with Emerson Collective, effective Jan. 10, 2022.

The board of trustees is pleased to announce that Provost and Executive Vice President La Jerne Terry Cornish has been appointed interim president of Ithaca College, effective Aug. 30, 2021. She will serve in this position for the entirety of the 2021-22 academic year.

Portrait images of Shirley M. Collado and La Jerne Terry Cornish smiling to camera.

(From left) President Shirley M. Collado and Provost and Executive Vice President La Jerne Terry Cornish.

Since joining the college in 2018, Provost Cornish has played a significant role in partnering with President Collado on decision-making processes related to the overall direction of the institution. She steered the development and implementation of the Ithaca Forever strategic plan and helped ensure that students and faculty were able to successfully navigate the challenges of the pandemic this past academic year — one of the most challenging in the college’s history. We are very confident that the strong and steady leadership that she has already demonstrated, in concert with an accomplished and dedicated senior leadership team, will provide the continuity and momentum that will serve the college well as we continue to achieve forward progress.

President Collado will assume the role of senior advisor to the interim president and the board of trustees through Dec. 31, 2021, helping to ensure a smooth and successful transition for Provost Cornish as well as working on distinct external projects that are currently in-process to help advance the college’s strategic plan.

The board will also be taking this time to thoughtfully consider and evaluate the best approach to planning for the next Ithaca College president.

On behalf of the board, we offer our most sincere congratulations to President Collado on her appointment at College Track and express our deepest appreciation for her service to Ithaca College over the past four years. While we are saddened that she will be departing the college, we are pleased that she is being given this extraordinary opportunity to help support college access for deserving students — a personal and professional passion that she has brought to all her work at IC.

Co-founded in 1997 by philanthropist Laurene Powell Jobs, College Track works in collaboration with Emerson Collective to remove the academic, financial, and social-emotional barriers that keep first-generation students from low-income communities from completing college and thriving in the workforce.

From the beginning, President Collado has been a change agent. She brought to Ithaca College a deep understanding of the importance of making higher education accessible and affordable, and why that has such a positive impact not only on students and their families, but also on the entire IC “family.” She has demonstrated a consistent commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in all areas of the college, including in her recruitment of a talented leadership team. Like her, they are student-centered and focused on delivering a learning and living experience in which all have the opportunity to thrive and to develop their full potential.

In accepting the Shape of the College plan and beginning the implementation of its recommendations, she has set the college on a path to a sustainable future that is both bold and realistic. We hope you will take your own opportunities to congratulate President Collado and to add your thanks for her many achievements during her time here. 

Ithaca College is a special community filled with incredibly talented and passionate people dedicated to having an enduring impact on our students. We recognize that while we face many challenges ahead, our opportunities are even greater. The board of trustees remains steadfastly committed to the ongoing realization of the Ithaca Forever strategic plan, which was created and endorsed by our campus community with the goal of achieving a bright and sustainable future for IC. With that in mind, it is our sincere hope that you join us in welcoming Provost Cornish into her new role and in helping to effect a smooth and successful leadership transition in this coming academic year.


David H. Lissy ’87
Chair, Ithaca College Board of Trustees 

Jim Nolan ’77
Vice Chair, Ithaca College Board of Trustees