Cornell President David Skorton Leaving University To Head Smithsonian Institute

Cornell University President David Skorton TechnionAP Photo/Seth WenigDeparting Cornell University President David Skorton speaks at a 2012 event announcing a partnership with Google.

Cornell University President David Skorton will leave the Ivy League school in 2o15 to head the Smithsonian Institute, the university announced today.

“In selecting David, the Smithsonian has acknowledged what we at Cornell already know — that David is that rare leader who can guide a great institution to even greater achievement. They could not have made a better choice,” Cornell Board of Trustees Chairman Robert Harrison said in a statement.

According to the university, Harrison will soon select the members for a search committee to find Cornell’s 13th president.

Skorton took over at Cornell in 2006, after a three-year term as the University of Iowa’s president. Among his biggest accomplishments at Cornell was winning a New York City graduate engineering and technology campus for the Ithaca-based school.

“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,” Skorton said in a Smithsonian statement. A board-certified cardiologist, Skorton will be the first physician to lead the Smithsonian.

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