Northwestern’s Incoming President Has Cancer, Won’t Serve
Rebecca M. Blank instead sent an email to the student body with the subject line, "I'm very sorry to give this news
on the day she had intended to be inaugurated as Northwestern University's president
After receiving an aggressive cancer diagnosis just one week prior, Blank was forced to resign from her new position at Northwestern before she could begin
Blank was the previous chancellor of the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
After learning that she had a "aggressive" form of cancer, Rebecca Blank, who would have been the university's
first female president, stated that she would not accept the position.
In my prior employment, I have always been able to deliver on this, but according to my doctors
the therapies I am commencing will make it nearly difficult for me to perform the duties you expect of a new president
I am so saddened and unhappy to have to tell you this that I am at a loss for words.
The diagnosis was given to Blank, 66, last week. Her first day as president-elect on the Evanston, Illinois, campus was intended to be the day she broke the news.
She was expected to serve in that capacity for two months before officially succeeding longtime president Morton Schapiro in September.