Succeeding Together

By Interim President La Jerne Terry Cornish, August 30, 2021
Strategic priorities for the coming year.

A Welcome Message from Interim President La Jerne Terry Cornish

Dear Ithaca College Community,

I write today to welcome you to the 2021-22 academic year at Ithaca College. I hope you are excited to start the year—and as excited as I am about our collective return to South Hill. I trust that your summer presented the opportunity for some relaxation and restoration. 

Please know that I am honored to serve this community as interim president, and I express my gratitude to Dr. Shirley M. Collado, who led this institution with strength and perseverance over the past four years. 

Our Ithaca Forever strategic plan makes it clear that our students are our “why,” and together, as a community, we keep students at the center of everything we do. Reflecting the commitments articulated in our strategic plan, as well as the events and challenges of the last year, the senior leadership team and I have identified six strategic priorities for the coming academic year:

  • The development of a Community of Care, which aligns with several Ithaca Forever goals, most importantly our goal to become a model for student success, engagement, and well-being.
  • Furthering our work to build a sustainable financial model.
  • COVID and public health management, a necessary focus as we dedicate ourselves to living, learning, and thriving within the context of COVID.
  • Advancing our work to become a national model for colleges committed to the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Continuing to stabilize enrollment at a sustainable size and retaining and engaging the students who have already chosen Ithaca College.
  • Leveraging innovations in our teaching, learning, and working to positively impact the student experience and drive us forward in our goal to be an employer of choice.

I will speak more about these priorities during our all-college event tomorrow, in Emerson Suites, from 12:10 - 1:05 p.m.

This community created the Ithaca Forever strategic plan in 2018 and we now begin the third year of its implementation. The changes resulting from the plan have made a positive and necessary impact on our ultimate goal of attaining an Ithaca Forever community. Thank you for all you have done to contribute to this process.

I want to acknowledge as well the reality that some of these changes have also been challenging and hard, particularly last year’s work to align the size of our faculty, staff, and programs to support our ideal size of 5,000 students. 

This year, there is more work to be done and there will be more challenges to confront as we work within an environment impacted by COVID. Even so, because of what we have already achieved we can begin to look ahead to new opportunities and future growth.

We will continue to persevere in the efforts that we have invested ourselves in since 2018 to realize our mission to educate, engage, and empower through theory, practice, and performance. As we continue our forward progression, we do so knowing we are in this together and we will succeed, together.

Thank you for being a part of this Ithaca College family.


La Jerne Terry Cornish
Interim President