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Peter McCormick

(Iowa & Queen's 1965) (26 May 1943 - 29 August 2022)

One of Cornell College’s only Rhodes Scholars and a longtime Coe College professor of philosophy and computer science, Peter McCormick ’65 died Aug. 29, 2022, in Durango, Colorado. He was 79.

He held a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Michigan, an M.S. in computer science from the University of Iowa, and B.A.s from Cornell College (in philosophy and German) and Oxford University. At Cornell he played violin, sang in Oratorio, and joined the swim team.

McCormick taught at Coe from 1974–2018, helping to establish Coe’s honors program in 1982. He played a critical role in integrating the internet to campus operations as Coe’s first director of academic computing in 1994. He firmly believed in a liberal arts education and vibrant campus experience, and in addition to constantly advocating for the importance of developing a breadth of knowledge, was a familiar presence at athletics and campus events. “Beyond his incredible intellect, Peter was a gifted athlete, and for many of us, he good-naturedly delivered the worst thrashing we ever received on the squash court,” the Coe President’s Office wrote in a message after his death.

He established the Peter McCormick ’65 Cultural Diversity Endowment at Cornell to promote student awareness and understanding of cultural diversity in the U.S., especially the cultures of historically important groups such as Native Americans, that have become marginalized in contemporary America.