President’s House becomes Garner namesakeMay 10, 2011
The Cornell College President’s House will now be known as the Garner President’s House, in honor of President Emeritus Les and First Lady Katrina Garner, who served Cornell from 1994 to 2010.
The new name is part of a plan to renovate and update the 161-year-old building that has served as home to the college’s presidents since the 1860s.
John McGrane, chair-elect of the Cornell Board of Trustees, and his wife and 1973 Cornell classmate, Martha Benson McGrane, gave the lead gift for the project and recruited architect Stephen Muse of Muse Architects in Bethesda, Md.
“Cornell needs a fully functional home for its president, both to live in and to host alumni, fundraising, community and other events that are critical to Cornell’s future,” said John McGrane. “As we move forward under the leadership of our new President Jonathan Brand, we want to have a facility that meets the ever expanding requirements of a growing and vibrant college.
“We and other donors for the project also believe it is more than appropriate that the house be named after Les and Katrina Garner. For 16 years, as president and first lady of the college, they graciously and ably demonstrated that the house can and should be used to create a broader sense of community at Cornell, for students, faculty, alumni, the board, and the broader Cornell and Mount Vernon constituency. The Garner President’s House will both honor the Garners’ tenure and efforts and help continue that sense of community.”
Preliminary plans call for renovating and expanding the public space, and renovating and revising the residential area. During the Garner years, nearly 1,000 people visited the home annually. Under Garner’s leadership, the college gained national recognition, added faculty, enhanced academic programs, upgraded technology, built three buildings and renovated numerous others. Garner now serves as president of the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation.
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