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Cornell University President David J. Skorton

David J. Skorton became the 12th president of Cornell University on Sept. 7, 2006. He holds faculty appointments in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at Weill-Cornell Medical College in New York City and in Biomedical Engineering at the College of Engineering on the Ithaca campus.

Skorton came to Cornell after serving as president of the University of Iowa since March 2003. He had been a faculty member there for 26 years. He was appointed vice president for research in 1992 and interim vice president for external relations in 2000. He served as vice president for research and external relations from March 2002 until he assumed the presidency. As vice president, he oversaw more than 30 administrative units and headed a research and development program that ranks among the nation’s top 20 public research universities in obtaining external funding. He also continued his role as a physician, caring for adolescents and adults with inborn heart disease.

Co-founder and co-director of the UI Adolescent and Adult Congenital Heart Disease Clinic at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Skorton focused his research on congenital heart disease in adolescents and adults, cardiac imaging, and computer image processing. His research was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the American Heart Association, and by private industry. He has published numerous articles, reviews, book chapters, and two major texts in the areas of cardiac imaging and image processing. He 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).

A national leader in research ethics, Skorton is charter past-president of the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs, Inc., the first entity organized specifically to accredit human research protection programs. He has served 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 for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs, the Association of American Universities, the Council on Competitiveness, and the Korea America Friendship Society. He has traveled widely in Europe and Asia on behalf of both academic and community projects.

Skorton is actively engaged in service to the community and to the state of Iowa, particularly in regional and state economic development. He served on and chaired the Iowa City Area Development Group, served on the Cedar Rapids Chamber of Commerce Priority One Advisory Committee and the Technology Corridor Committee, and currently serves on the Cedar Rapids Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors. He also was a member of the Iowa Business Council and has served on the Iowa Department of Economic Development Board, the Governor’s Life Sciences Advisory Committee, and the Iowa Research Council, of which he was president from 1999 to 2001.

Skorton earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1970 and an M.D. in 1974, both from Northwestern University. Following a medical residency and cardiology fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles, he went to the University of Iowa in 1980 as an instructor. He was named assistant professor of internal medicine in 1981 and assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering in 1982. He was promoted to associate professor in 1984 and to professor in 1988.

As a musician, Skorton has a longstanding interest in jazz. He grew up in Los Angeles surrounded by Latin music and worked as a professional jazz and R&B musician in the Chicago area. He hosted a weekly program, As Night Falls—Latin Jazz, on KSUI, the University of Iowa’s public FM radio station.