Students conduct research on Lake Treman

Cornell’s Land-Grant Mission Serves New York State

In labs, classrooms, and in the field, Cornellians apply world-class expertise to solve real-world problems.

As New York state’s land-grant institution, Cornell University is charged with advancing the lives and livelihoods of the state’s citizens through teaching, research and public service. Its mission is rooted in ideals considered revolutionary when the federal Morrill Land Grant Acts were enacted in 1862 and 1890: that a land-grant university education should be open to all qualified students, regardless of class, ethnicity, race or gender; and must merge practical scientific and technical education with classical studies in history, philosophy and literature.

The university’s co-founder and namesake, Ezra Cornell, and co-founder and first president, Andrew Dickson White, shared these ideals and through their efforts created “a world-class institution with egalitarian ideals,” renowned for the vitality of its intellectual culture, its commitment to diversity and excellence in research and scholarship.

Chartered in 1865, Cornell University possesses, in the words of President Martha Pollack, “an abiding commitment to the liberal arts, to the development and curation of pure knowledge, and to the application of that knowledge to make a lasting, positive difference in the world.” Cornell’s faculty, students, alumni and staff strive to achieve these aspirations, fulfilling the land-grant mission through programs of unparalleled quality and depth whose impact is felt not only throughout the state, but across the globe.