Cornell President Announces Plans to Leave

Cornell President David Skorton will leave the university in July 2015 to become the secretary of the Smithsonian. In a Smithsonian announcement, Skorton gave this statement:

"Becoming a part of the Smithsonian is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to lead an institution that is at the heart of the country's cultural, artistic, historical and scientific life. I am honored by the Board of Regents' decision. I look forward with great enthusiasm to partnering with the excellent staff and volunteers, and engaging with the Regents, Congress and the Smithsonian's many friends, supporters and affiliates to further extend our reach. I am eager to work with the leaders of Washington's art, science and cultural centers to emphasize the critical importance of these disciplines."

Skorton's email to the Cornell community echoed his enthusiasm for the Smithsonian and focused on continuing his work with Cornell through the sesquicentennial.

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

This morning, Robin and I are in Washington, D.C. for the announcement that I will become the next Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution on July 1, 2015. The Smithsonian is one of our true national treasures, and I am honored to have the opportunity to help shape its cultural, artistic, historic, scientific and public engagement endeavors.

Although the transition is in the news today, our work on behalf of Cornell is not done. I will continue all the duties and activities of my Cornell office through this and the next entire academic year, advancing the full array of university initiatives, celebrating our sesquicentennial and ensuring a successful transition to the next president.

Robin will continue her work in the College of Veterinary Medicine on the Ithaca campus and at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City through June 30, 2015, along with continuing her role as a Cornell ambassador for the sesquicentennial events yet to come.

After we all celebrate Cornell's sesquicentennial, we will carry with us the enduring spirit of Cornell and its remarkably talented community of scholars, students, staff and alumni with whom we have had the privilege to collaborate during these past eight years.

From our very first Cornell Reunion in June 2006, a few weeks before we were officially on board, Robin and I were knit into the fabric of a remarkable community. We have learned so much as part of the Cornell family, from our periodic stays in Mary Donlon Hall during Orientation, to our day-to-day activities on the campuses, to our interactions with our wonderful alumni. We continue to cherish your support, guidance and friendship.

We will be back in Ithaca this evening. We look forward to seeing and talking with many of you in person as our transition unfolds. We also look forward to seeing you at the many events being planned to celebrate Cornell's sesquicentennial, beginning this fall.

Warm regards,

David J. Skorton
Cornell University 

In a video, Skorton said that he'll miss interactions with students.

Image source.

Discussion Starters:

  • Analyze President Skorton's message to the Cornell community. How do the organization, audience focus, and content work well, and what could be improved?
  • What differences, if any, do you notice in message and tone between Skorton's Smithsonian announcement and the email announcement?