Martha Pollack
Pollack in 2017
14th President of Cornell University
Assumed office
April 17, 2017
Preceded byElizabeth Garrett
14th Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs of the University of Michigan
In office
Preceded byPhilip J. Hanlon
Succeeded byMartin Philbert
Personal details
Martha Elizabeth Pollack

(1958-08-27) August 27, 1958 (age 65)
Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.
SpouseKen Gottschlich
EducationDartmouth College (BA)
University of Pennsylvania (MA, PhD)
Scientific career
FieldsComputer science
Artificial intelligence[1]
InstitutionsSRI International
University of Pittsburgh
University of Michigan
ThesisInferring Domain Plans in Question-Answering (1986)
Doctoral advisorsBonnie Webber
Barbara J. Grosz[2]

Martha Elizabeth Pollack (born August 27, 1958)[3] is an American computer scientist who has served as the 14th president of Cornell University since April 2017. Previously, she served as the 14th provost and executive vice president for academic affairs of the University of Michigan from 2013 to 2017.[4][5]

Pollack's research specialty is artificial intelligence, where her contributions include works in planning, natural language processing, and activity recognition for cognitive assistance.[4][1] She also serves on the board of directors of IBM.[6]


Pollack completed her undergraduate studies in linguistics at Dartmouth College, graduating in 1979.[4] She earned master's and doctoral degrees in computer science from the University of Pennsylvania, completing her Ph.D. in 1986 under the joint supervision of Bonnie Webber and Barbara J. Grosz.[4][2][7]

Career and research

Before joining the University of Michigan faculty in 2000, she worked at SRI International[8] from 1985 to 1992, and was on the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh from 1991 to 2000. She became dean of the School of Information at Michigan in 2007, Vice Provost in 2010, and Provost in 2013.[4] She has also been program chair of the International Joint Conferences on Artificial Intelligence in 1997,[4][9] editor-in-chief of the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research from 2001 to 2005,[4][10] and president of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence from 2009 to 2010.[4][11]

Pollack was the winner of the 1991 IJCAI Computers and Thought Award.[4][12] She has been a fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence since 1996, and of the Association for Computing Machinery and the American Association for the Advancement of Science since 2012.[4][13][14][15][16] She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2022.[17][18]

On November 14, 2016, the Cornell University Board of Trustees announced that they had unanimously elected her as Cornell University’s 14th president, with her presidency beginning on April 17, 2017.[19] Pollack was officially inaugurated on August 25, 2017.[20][21]

As President

Pollack at 2021 Commencement

Martha Pollack has made significant changes to Greek Life on campus, including banning all hard alcohol from events, suspending chapters suspected of hazing, and requiring a full-time live-in advisor for each fraternity and sorority house.[22] She has also introduced plans to improve mental health services on campus after widespread criticism of Cornell's culture and lack of support for students in need,[23] and rejected calls from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement for Cornell to boycott investments in Israeli businesses.[24]


  1. ^ a b Martha E. Pollack publications indexed by Google Scholar Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ a b Martha E. Pollack at the Mathematics Genealogy Project Edit this at Wikidata
  3. ^ Steecker, Matt; Platsky, Jeff (November 15, 2016). "Martha Pollack named 14th Cornell president". The Ithaca Journal.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Martha E. Pollack Archived 2017-07-28 at the Wayback Machine, Office of the Provost, University of Michigan, and Curriculum vitae Archived 2017-07-28 at the Wayback Machine, both retrieved 2015-06-14.
  5. ^ University of Michigan Provost and Executive Vice-President for Academic Affairs. "Provost and Executive Vice-President for Academic Affairs (University of Michigan) Supplemental Files". University of Michigan Bentley Historical Library. Retrieved 2023-01-26.
  6. ^ "IBM Elects Martha E. Pollack to its Board of Directors". IBM News Room. Retrieved 2019-11-13.
  7. ^ Pollack, Martha Elizabeth (1986). Inferring domain plans in question-answering (theory action, intentions, discourse, common sense reasoning) (Ph.D.). University of Pennsylvania. OCLC 256348876. ProQuest 303509615.
  8. ^ University, Carnegie Mellon. "Martha E. Pollack - The Inauguration of Farnam Jahanian - Carnegie Mellon University". Retrieved 2023-07-26.
  9. ^ IJCAI-97 Officials, retrieved 2015-06-14.
  10. ^ JAIR History Archived 2018-04-21 at the Wayback Machine, retrieved 2015-04-16.
  11. ^ Past AAAI Officials, retrieved 2015-06-14.
  12. ^ List of past winners from IJCAI-2015, retrieved 2015-06-14.
  13. ^ AAAI Fellows, retrieved 2015-04-16.
  14. ^ ACM Fellow award citation, retrieved 2015-04-16.
  15. ^ Martha Pollack Named Fellow of AAAS, ACM, EECS, Univ. of Michigan, retrieved 2015-06-14.
  16. ^ AAAS Members Elected as Fellows, AAAS, December 6, 2011, retrieved 2015-06-14.
  17. ^ "Pollack, Pape elected to arts and sciences academy". Cornell Chronicle. Retrieved 2022-04-30.
  18. ^ "New Members - Elected in 2022". American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 2022-04-30.
  19. ^ "Martha E. Pollack, provost at Michigan, named 14th president". Cornell Chronicle. November 14, 2016.
  20. ^ Mediak, Gabrielle (August 25, 2017). "Thousands attend Cornell University's 14th presidential inauguration". Spectrum News. Retrieved 2017-08-26.
  21. ^ Butler, Matt (August 25, 2017). "Martha Pollack inaugurated as Cornell's newest president". Retrieved 2017-08-26.
  22. ^ Arora, Girisha (May 4, 2018). "Online Scorecard, No Hard Alcohol Among Greek Life Reforms Introduced by Pollack". The Cornell Daily Sun. Retrieved 2019-11-13.
  23. ^ Arora, Girisha (November 13, 2018). "Pollack Says Greek Reforms 'On-Track,' Addresses Mental Health on Campus". The Cornell Daily Sun. Retrieved 2019-11-13.
  24. ^ "Cornell president rejects BDS, refuting student group's push to divest from Israel". Jewish News Syndicate. March 13, 2019. Retrieved 2020-04-05.
Academic offices Preceded byElizabeth Garrett 14th President of Cornell University 2017 – present Incumbent