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Cornell still pioneering at 150

  Les Garner  

Elder George Bowman and the others who created this college on the Iowa frontier believed that education was critical to a civilized society. They were pioneers who provided vision for a new state and a new region. Now, 150 years later, we can appreciate their wisdom. We can see that their foresight has paid off in the leadership and the contributions made by our graduates for a century and a half.

Cornell College’s sesquicentennial gives us a chance to reflect on our accomplishments and focus on the opportunities before us. I hope you will celebrate our sesquicentennial at one of our many campus events, off-campus alumni galas, or at Homecoming. If you haven’t returned to campus for a few years, you will find that the Hilltop has never looked better. As a result of the strong and enthusiastic support of our trustees, alumni, and friends, we have enjoyed important facility improvements over the past decade. The arts at Cornell now enjoy new and renovated facilities in Armstrong Hall, McWethy Hall, Youngker Hall, and the new Kimmel Theatre. The Marie Fletcher Carter pedestrian mall has transformed the experience of walking through campus. Law Hall, Bowman-Carter and Merner residence halls, Cole Library, and indoor and outdoor athletics facilities have been modernized to meet the needs of today’s students.

Les Garner, President

These advancements, in large part made possible by alumni and trustee support, make a real difference in the education of our students and demonstrate our optimism about the college’s future. They also say that our alumni value their experience here and want to make sure that the college can persist for another 150 years to offer a Cornell education to succeeding generations of students.

A Cornell education is more important now than it ever has been. Our world is characterized by complex global interactions and rapid change–not just technologically, but economically and socially. Many demands will be made on the women and the men who lead us in that world. They will have to be people who have a broad education, who have an ability to solve problems, an ability to communicate with others, and deep empathy with people whose backgrounds are similar to and different from their own. These are the attributes gained from a Cornell education. We have a tremendous opportunity, not just to serve our students, but also to serve our community and the world around us by providing Cornell graduates with the traits that Cornell students have always had—intelligence, compassion, and willingness to serve others. In celebrating the sesquicentennial, we affirm our commitment to an education that will empower our students to make the world a better place for all of us.

As we look forward, we are pioneers like our founders. We too think education is crucial to civilized society, and we are continually working to improve the Cornell experience. In the spirit of George Bowman, we believe that this college has made and will make a difference in the world.

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