Former Queen’s University Principal Karen Hitchcock has died at the age of 76, according to University at Albany President Havidán Rodríguez.
“This morning I received the very sad news that former UAlbany president Karen Hitchcock has passed away after a lengthy illness,” wrote Rodríguez in an email to the UAlbany community this morning, according to WAMC.
Hitchcock, who earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from St. Lawrence University and a doctorate from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, became the first female president of UAlbany in 1994 and was also Queen’s University’s first woman principal in 2004.
During her time at Queen’s University, she was instrumental in acquiring land near campus for the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts and the creation of the Queen’s Centre, housing the university’s sports facilities and student life centre.
Hitchcock’s five-year term came to a premature end on April 16, 2008 when she abruptly announced her resignation just four months after she had sought reappointment for a second term, leaving the position two weeks later and fourteen months before her first term was scheduled to finish.
Her term as principal was marred by complaints that included a degree of absence, purportedly to tend to her ill husband, and an over-budget construction of the Queen’s Centre. Two months after Hitchcock applying to be appointed a second term, the Alma Mater Society undergraduate student government, unanimously passed a motion stating their opposition to her reappointment.
Hitchock returned to Albany, NY after leaving Queen’s and became a special adviser for lobbying and consulting firm, Park Strategies.