Nov. 10, 2011

Svante Myrick '09 wins election as Ithaca's next mayor

Svante Myrick '09 was elected Ithaca's next mayor on Tuesday, winning a four-way race with 54 percent of the vote.

At 24, he will be the city of Ithaca's youngest mayor ever; he also will be its first African-American mayor. Myrick, who is an alderman for Ithaca's Fourth Ward and won the Democratic primary in September, was the first African-American mayoral candidate to win a major party's nomination in the city.

"Cornell University congratulates Mayor-elect Svante Myrick and wishes him a successful term of accomplishment and effective service to the people of Ithaca," said President David Skorton. "Our success at Cornell is intimately intertwined with that of the city of Ithaca. Recruitment and retention of our talented students, staff and faculty depends on the vibrant cultural and civic environment of Ithaca. I look forward to working directly with Mayor-elect Myrick toward a shared bright future."

Susan Murphy, vice president for student and academic services, also offered Myrick congratulations.

"It's exciting to see a recent graduate be elected to a leadership role," she said. "Cornell seems to attract young people who readily take on big challenges, and Svante is no exception. He was active as a leader while enrolled as an undergraduate and was committed to engaging with the local community throughout his time at Cornell. We are excited for him, and for our local community, to have him as mayor."

The native of Earlville, N.Y., was a communication major in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. During his four-year term on Ithaca's Common Council, he chaired the committee that created the city's Youth Council and served as chair of the Collegetown Vision Implementation Committee.

Since graduating from Cornell, Myrick worked as an apprenticeship coordinator with the Learning Web in Ithaca and as assistant director of student and young alumni programs for Cornell's Office of Alumni Affairs before resigning that position to run for mayor.

Outgoing Ithaca Mayor Carolyn Peterson, who did not seek reelection, had originally endorsed Tompkins County Legislator Pam Mackesey '89 for mayor, but Mackesey lost the Democratic primary. Peterson later endorsed Myrick.

Independent candidate Wade Wykstra, a commissioner of the city's board of public works, came in second, 28 percentage points behind Myrick. The other candidates were J.R. Clairborne, an alderman for the city's Second Ward who ran on the Independence Party ticket, and Janis Kelly '71, who ran on the Republican ticket.