Skip to main content

Blackboard with Cornell land-grant collage drawing

The centerpiece of a new video, "Cornell's Land-Grant Mission and the Spirit of Public Engagement," is the on-camera creation of this large chalkboard mural by Ithaca artist Marshall Hopkins. The drawing and the video chart Cornell's historic land-grant founding and how that mission has evolved into the university's global engagement today. The video, available at, was produced and directed by Cornell video producer Micah Cormier and debuted during Trustee-Council Weekend in October in Ithaca.

Action Teens, apples and the spirit of democracy: Cornell's culture of public engagement expands the definition of 'land grant'

hands holding globe

What President David Skorton has called Cornell's "commitment to developing knowledge that benefits communities" is closely tied to the university's land-grant mission. See larger image

In April, CARE, one of the world's largest humanitarian organizations – with field offices in 84 countries and an annual budget of more than $500 million – announced a unique partnership with Cornell that has the potential to maximize the impact of both institutions' work on gender, food security and poverty.

Cornell President David Skorton heralded the partnership as "an important milestone in bringing the impacts of research to our human family."

The collaboration is also a modern example of what has long been known as the university's land-grant mission to translate knowledge into solutions for real people and real communities, and to engage with, and respond to, the challenges of the real world.

research support specialist with villagers in Kargi, Kenya

Erin Lentz, third from left, a research support specialist with Cornell's Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, with villagers in Kargi, Kenya, who she interviewed as part of a 2008 project to assess which form of food assistance they preferred. She and other Dyson School researchers developed a tool to help international relief organizations cater their food aid response to specific situations. Photo: Andrew Mude. See larger image

For many people, the term "land grant" conjures up only images of the university's engagement with agriculture – apple orchards, cows, dairy farms and Cooperative Extension offices providing composting classes for gardeners. Indeed, many people are under the mistaken impression that only Cornell's state-supported colleges (the Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Veterinary Medicine, Human Ecology and the ILR School) are "land grant" schools.

"In fact, that's not true," points out Robert Harrison, chairman of the Cornell Board of Trustees and CEO of the Clinton Global Initiative. "Every department, every discipline, area, major and college [at Cornell] has the same obligation and same public-service mission."

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Next Page >>
<<View entire story as one page>>

Back to top