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Cornell’s Twelve Presidents

Inaugurating the Presidents

Andrew Dickson White, 1868
Charles Kendall Adams, 1885
Jacob Gould Schurman, 1892
Livingston Farrand, 1921
Edmund E. Day, 1937
Deane W. Malott, 1951
James A. Perkins, 1963
Dale R. Corson, 1969
Frank H. T. Rhodes, 1977
Hunter Ripley Rawlings III, 1995
Jeffrey Sean Lehman, 2003

Cornell’s Twelve Presidents

David J. Skorton, 2006

David J. Skorton was appointed Cornell University’s 12th president on July 1, 2006. Formal inauguration ceremonies were held in Ithaca on September 7, 2006. President Skorton also holds faculty appointments in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at Weill-Cornell Medical College (WCMC) in New York City and in Biomedical Engineering at the College of Engineering on Cornell’s Ithaca campus.

David Skorton was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the son of an immigrant from Belarus. He grew up in Van Nuys, California and studied at the University of California at Los Angeles before transferring to Northwestern University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1970 and an M.D. in 1974. After serving a medical residency and cardiology fellowship at UCLA, Skorton went to the University of Iowa as an instructor in 1980. In 1981, he became an assistant professor in internal medicine, and in 1982, he also became an assistant professor in electrical and computer engineering. He ultimately held the rank of professor in the Departments of Internal Medicine, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Biomedical Engineering. His primary research interest has focused on congenital heart disease in adolescents and adults, cardiac imaging, and computer image processing, and he co-founded and co-directed the UI Adolescent and Adult Congenital Heart Disease Clinic at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

Skorton served in a variety of administrative positions at the University of Iowa, including director of the Cardiovascular Image Processing Laboratory (1982–1996), director of the Division of General Internal Medicine (1985–1989), and associate chair for clinical programs in the Department of Internal Medicine (1989–1992). In 1992, then UI President Hunter Rawlings appointed him as vice president for research. He also served as interim vice president for external relations and vice president for research and external relations. In March 2003, he became the nineteenth president of the University of Iowa.

President Skorton has led national programs in research ethics, serving as charter past-president of the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs, which pioneered in its field. His activities include service on the boards and committees of many national organizations, including the American College of Cardiology, the American Heart Association, the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine, the American Society of Echocardiography, the Association of American Universities, the Council on Competitiveness, and the Korea America Friendship Society.

Also an avid musician who plays saxophone and flute, Skorton worked as a professional jazz and R&B musician in the Chicago area, and co-hosted a weekly program, “As Night Falls—Latin Jazz,” on one of the University of Iowa’s public radio stations.

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Four Cornell presidents
Former, current, and future Cornell University presidents (from left) Hunter R. Rawlings, David J. Skorton, Frank H.T. Rhodes and Dale R. Corson pose together at the Statler Hotel ballroom.

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David J. Skorton
David Skorton, newly named 12th president of Cornell University, takes in the view at the Beck Center's Park Atrium on Cornell's campus.

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David J. Skorton with Cornell deans
David Skorton meets with Cornell deans and provosts at the Statler Hotel.

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Robin Davisson
Robin Davisson, David Skorton's wife, speaks to the media. Currently an associate professor at the University of Iowa, she will join the Cornell faculty with a joint appointments in Ithaca and New York City.

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