Passing of Cornell President Emeritus Frank H.T. Rhodes

Dear Cornell Community,

It is with sadness that I inform you today that Cornell President Emeritus Frank H.T. Rhodes, an unparalleled leader, colleague and friend to generations of Cornellians, passed away last night at the age of 93.

Frank Rhodes led Cornell for 18 years, from 1977 to 1995, nearly unheard of today at major research universities. He presided over tremendous, transformative periods of growth in the university’s research and academic programs, shaping Cornell’s national and international role, and renewing a focus on the importance of teaching.

After stepping down as president, Frank never left Cornell. He continued his influential role as an elder statesman in higher education, with an always relevant voice in matters of national academic and university leadership. Always a scholar, he also returned to his deep scientific roots, researching and writing about geology, evolution, the history of science, and the need to be responsible stewards of the planet we all share.

Perhaps most importantly, Frank cultivated permanent, lifelong bonds with multiple generations of Cornell faculty, staff and alumni. Eloquent, charming and an affable, peerless advocate for the university, he, along with his wife, Rosa, were frequent guests, attendees and cheerleaders at nearly every major Cornell event for decades.

The Cornell Chronicle’s obituary is posted here. Plans will soon be announced for a memorial and remembrance gathering on the Ithaca campus in the near future, and we will share details as soon as they are available. In the meantime, you may share memories of Frank and condolences to his family here.

On behalf of the entire Cornell community, President Martha E. Pollack and I offer our deepest condolences to Rosa and the entire extended Rhodes family. Sadly,

Robert S. Harrison Chairman
Cornell University Board of Trustees