Cornell President Elizabeth Garrett, the first woman to hold that position, has died of colon cancer after less than a year on the job, the university said Monday. She was 52.

Garrett, who became president of the Ivy League school on July 1, died Sunday night at her home, Cornell said.

"While Beth's tenure as president has tragically been cut short, her efforts over the last eight months have set the university on a path toward continued excellence," said Robert Harrison, chairman of the Cornell board of trustees. "She will leave a lasting legacy on our beloved institution and will be terribly missed."

Cornell, located in central New York, planned a moment of silence Monday afternoon and a memorial service at a later date.

Garrett succeeded David Skorton, who became secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. She was previously a provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at the University of Southern California.

President George W. Bush appointed her in 2005 to serve on the bipartisan Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform, and she served from 2009 to 2013 as commissioner on the California Fair Political Practices Commission.

She received a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Oklahoma and a law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law.

Garrett's husband, Andrei Marmor, teaches at the university's law school.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo called Garrett a "visionary leader" in a statement offering his condolences.

"Elizabeth's passing is a great loss not only for her university, but for our state," Cuomo said.