In Memoriam: Elizabeth Jane McCormack, 1922-2020

Elizabeth Jane McCormack, who served as president of Manhattanville College in Harrison, New York, from 1966 to 1974, died on December 4. She was 98 years old.

“This is a major loss for Manhattanville College and for the entire higher education community in our region,’’ said Manhattanville College President Michael E. Geisler. “Elizabeth was a very important part of Manhattanville history and a kind person who was beloved by so many. For many in our Manhattanville community, faculty, staff, and in particular alumni, this loss is painful on a very personal level.”

McCormack was a native of New York City. Her father led an architectural firm. In 1940 she graduated from Maplehurst, a Catholic girls’ boarding school in the Bronx and then enrolled in Manhattanville College. During her senior year she decided to become a nun as a member of the Society of the Sacred Heart. Dr. McCormack went on to earn a master’s degree at Providence College in Rhode Island and a doctorate at Fordham University in New York.

After serving as headmistress of a boarding school in Connecticut, Dr. McCormack joined the Manhattanville College staff in 1958 and was a dean and administrator before becoming president in 1966. During her tenure, she led the transformation of Manhattanville from an elite Catholic women’s institution to a non-denominational, co-educational center of higher education.

In 1974 she resigned from the Society of the Sacred Heart and left the college. Two years later, she got married to the college’s former chief financial officer.

In the early 1970s, Dr. McCormack began advising the Rockefeller family on its philanthropic causes, a relationship that would last decades. She served on numerous foundation boards, including that of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Atlantic Philanthropies, the Population Council, The Julliard School, and the Trust for Mutual Understanding.

Filed Under: In Memoriam


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