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From the president

Elizabeth Garrett, Cornell president

Elizabeth Garrett, Cornell president. See larger image

"Education is an inspiration, a taking hold of a broader life." Those prescient words by Professor Liberty Hyde Bailey, carved in stone in Cornell's Sesquicentennial Grove, speak to the kind of education found across our campuses every day. Among the myriad opportunities students can seize to embrace that broader life, none are more important than those that offer meaningful experiences throughout our interconnected and globalized world.

Cornell is already a remarkably international university, with students from more than 100 countries; more than 2,000 students traveling abroad each year for engaged learning; a faculty that is global in its composition and in the reach of its teaching, research and creative work; and alumni who live or work on every continent and enthusiastically support our efforts to realize Cornell's full potential as a global university of the first rank.

I have been impressed by the support and leadership Cornell alumni have provided for our efforts to increase the international dimensions of the student experience. Martin Tang '70, who chairs the External Advisory Council for the Global Cornell Initiative, provided travel grants for 33 Cornell students to work or study abroad this past summer. Other members of the advisory council also have provided opportunities for students to "take hold of a broader life." Three in particular caught my attention because of their geographic breadth and intellectual scope.

Hannah James '15 earned her degree in human biology, health and society last May and is now a Global Health Program Fellow at Cornell. She was among the students to benefit from support from Andrew Paul '78 and participated in a summer program in a resource-poor international setting. During an eight-week field experience in Moshi, Tanzania, in 2013, she completed a case study on the increasing prevalence of Type 2 diabetes in rural communities and also worked with the Network Against Female Genital Mutilation – experiences that have enabled her to further her interest in health in an international context.

With scholarship support from Ratan Tata '59, B.Arch. '62, Sushmitha Krishnamoorthy '17, a Tata Scholar from New Delhi, India, is pursuing a degree in computer science as a student in the College of Arts and Sciences while also blogging for Cornell, because, as she writes in her blog, "I'm a big fan of a liberal arts education." Fitting an international experience into an already packed schedule took some planning. As it turned out, though, she had two interesting offers – one at Oxford and one in Ecuador. In the end she chose the Ecuador program, which includes a service-learning project over the upcoming winter break, because it "would widen my worldview far more than Oxford could."

Mike Zak '75 is a longtime supporter of the China and Asia-Pacific Studies (CAPS) program, a rigorous undergraduate major designed to train future leaders for careers in the various domains of U.S.-China relations. Among the students who currently benefit from Mike's support is CAPS major Cole DeVoy '16, who is pursuing interests in energy security, foreign policy and the growth of Chinese "soft power" during his time at Cornell. With four years of intensive Chinese language training and two semesters of internships, in Washington, D.C., and in Beijing, he will graduate with unparalleled pre-professional training grounded on a solid Cornell liberal arts education.

The focus of my presidency is to advance the academic stature and prominence of this great university. The many aspects of our global portfolio – including the education of our students as true citizens of the world – will be critical to our success. I look forward to a deepening partnership with alumni who, like Martin Tang, Ratan Tata, Andrew Paul and Mike Zak, see the promise and the necessity of a fully global Cornell.

Elizabeth Garrett

President, Cornell University

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