Cornell University is a private Ivy League and statutory land-grant research university based in Ithaca, New York. Founded in 1865 by Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White, Cornell was founded with the intention to teach and make contributions in all fields of knowledge—from the classics to the sciences, and from the theoretical to the applied. These ideals, unconventional for the time, are captured in Cornell’s founding principle, a popular 1868 quotation from founder Ezra Cornell: “I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study.”
The university is organized into seven undergraduate colleges and seven graduate divisions at its main Ithaca campus, with each college and division defining its specific admission standards and academic programs in near autonomy. The university also administers two satellite campuses, one in New York City and one in Education City, Qatar.
Cornell is one of the few private land-grant universities in the United States. Of its seven undergraduate colleges, three are state-supported statutory or contract colleges through the State University of New York (SUNY) system, including its agricultural and human ecology colleges as well as its industrial labor relations school. Of Cornell’s graduate schools, only the veterinary college is state-supported. As a land- grant college, Cornell operates a cooperative extension outreach program in every county of New York and receives annual funding from the State of New York for certain educational missions. The main campus in Ithaca, New York spans 745 acres (more than 4,300 acres when the Cornell Botanic Gardens and the numerous university-owned lands in New York City are considered).
Mission, Vision and Values
Learning. Discovery. Engagement.
Cornell is a private, Ivy League university and the land-grant university for New York state. Cornell’s mission is to discover, preserve and disseminate knowledge, to educate the next generation of global citizens, and to promote a culture of broad inquiry throughout and beyond the Cornell community. Cornell also aims, through public service, to enhance the lives and livelihoods of students, the people of New York and others around the world.
Cornell aspires to be the exemplary comprehensive research university for the 21st century. Faculty, staff and students thrive at Cornell because of its unparalleled combination of quality and breadth; its open, collaborative and innovative culture; its founding commitment to diversity and inclusion; its vibrant rural and urban campuses; and its land-grant legacy of public engagement.
University Core Values
We value the process of discovery through learning, teaching, scholarship, and innovation to advance the University’s mission, in all cases striving with integrity for excellence and purpose. The search for, and the dissemination of, knowledge are tightly linked: as A. D. White noted, “The power of discovering truth and the power of imparting it are almost invariably found together.”
Free and Open Inquiry and Expression
We are a community whose very purpose is the pursuit of knowledge. We value free and open inquiry and expression—tenets that underlie academic freedom—even of ideas some may consider wrong or offensive. Inherent in this commitment is the corollary freedom to engage in reasoned opposition to messages to which one objects.
A Community of Belonging
As a university founded to be a place where “…any person can find instruction…,” we value diversity and inclusion, and we strive to be a welcoming, caring, and equitable community where students, faculty, and staff with different backgrounds, perspectives, abilities, and experiences can learn, innovate, and work in an environment of respect, and feel empowered to engage in any community conversation.
Exploration Across Boundaries
Ezra Cornell embraced a vision that we would be a place to “…find instruction in any study.” To that end, we value the importance of all academic disciplines and celebrate the power of connections among them.
Changing Lives Through Public Engagement
As the land-grant institution of New York, with our main campus within the ancestral homelands of the Cayuga Nation and a long history of national and international connections, we value engagement in our community, our state, and the broader world, learning about their needs and strengths, and applying the knowledge we create for the benefit of society.
Respect for the Natural Environment
We value our role in advancing solutions for a sustainable future and we recognize the close relationship between people and the Earth, acting in ways to live and work sustainably.
Cornell University Presidential Initiatives & Priorities