President Emeritus Malott dies at 98

He is remembered for his energy and vision

Deane W. Malott, Cornell president from 1951 to 1963, died Wednesday, Sept. 11, at his home in Ithaca. He was 98.

Malott became Cornell's sixth president in 1951. He presided over a period of rapid expansion of the university in the post-World War II years. Under his direction, Cornell's budget grew from $42 million at the start of his tenure to $110 million, faculty salaries increased by more than 60 percent and growth in sponsored research grew from less than $15 million to more than $45 million annually.

President Hunter Rawlings said, "Deane Malott will be remembered by some as a builder of buildings ­ for teaching, for research, for student housing and other pressing needs ­ which literally transformed the Cornell campus during his presidency. But he will be remembered far longer as the builder of the intellectual landscape that characterizes Cornell today. I feel privileged to have known Deane Malott, even though for all too brief a time, and I was delighted that he was a part of my inaugural ceremonies last October."

President Emeritus Frank H.T. Rhodes, Rawlings' predecessor, said, "Deane Malott was one of Cornell's greatest presidents. He brought new energy, new vision and new support to the university in every area of its life and work, and he did it with a sense of humor and grace that won friends far and wide. In all this, his late wife, Eleanor, was an energetic and devoted partner. Cornell has lost a champion, and many Cornellians have lost a wise counselor and a treasured friend."

Prior to coming to Cornell, Malott was chancellor at the University of Kansas for 12 years. His earlier career included teaching and administrative responsibilities at the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration and a business career as a personal assistant to James Dole, founder of the Dole Pineapple Co.

Malott served on the boards of directors of Pitney-Bowes, the B.F. Goodrich Co., General Mills Inc., Owens-Corning Fiberglass, Lane Bryant Inc., the Citizens Bank of Abilene, Kan., and the First National Bank of Ithaca. He was a trustee of the Midwest Research Institute, the Teagle Foundation and the Corning Museum, a member of the Business Council and a consultant to the Association of American Colleges. He served under Presidents Truman, Eisenhower and Johnson on a number of commissions and boards.

Deane Waldo Malott was born July 10, 1898, in Abilene, Kan. He received a bachelor's degree from the University of Kansas in 1921 and a master's degree from Harvard Business School in 1923. His father, M.H. Malott, known as the "dean of Kansas bankers," was founder and board chairman of the Citizens Bank in Abilene.

His wife, the former Eleanor Sisson Thrum, died in 1994. He is survived by three children: Robert H. Malott of Kenilworth, Ill.; Janet Malott Elliott of Ocala, Fla.; Edith Malott LaBonte of Palo Alto, Calif.; nine grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held Sunday, Oct. 20, at 3 p.m. in Sage Chapel on campus. The service will be followed immediately by a reception at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art.

President Deane W. Malott poses in his Day Hall office, with McGraw Tower in the background.

Malott and his wife, Eleanor, ride on the official Class of 1912 vehicle ­ a fire engine ­ during Reunion celebrations on campus in 1952.

President Malott talks with a group of students on Libe Slope in the 1950s.

Photographs from the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library

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