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Messaging

Some people talk about brand and refer to slogans and logos. But it’s so much more. Our brand is a reflection of everything we do and say, everything we print and broadcast.

The division of University Relations communicates within the AP Style guidelines. To consult the AP Stylebook, you may gain access via the Cornell University Library.

University Mission

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.

University Vision

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.


Core Values

The nature and implicit values of Cornell University were the theme of President Skorton's "State of the University" address on October 23, 2009. He argued that Cornell University is supported by four fundamental pillars:

  1. Classical and contemporary inquiry, "shaped by the founder's commitment to liberal and practical education." In other words, Cornell values the arts and humanities as well as advanced scientific and technological research; in broader terms, the university is committed to the interweaving of fundamental knowledge and practical education.
  2. "Thinking otherwise" Cornell's faculty members have a history of being intellectually diverse and entrepreneurial and as Carl Becker indicated, "thinking otherwise." This reflects a deep commitment to academic freedom and a belief that such freedom is essential to creativity and innovation. The One Cornell theme of our strategic plan stresses the importance of creative collaborations that emerge from the "bottom up" rather than from the "top down."
  3. Student access, which expresses a central principle of Ezra Cornell's original vision, namely a university open and accessible to all who merit entrance ("any person"). The longstanding and recently reaffirmed commitment to need-blind admissions reflects this value, as does the commitment of the university to diversity and inclusion and the notion that diversity and excellence are interrelated. The university's commitment to student access has been tested in recent years, given significant competition with peer institutions, and Cornell has addressed this challenge successfully with a program to reduce the costs of a Cornell education for students from families in lower income quintiles.
  4. Public engagement, which expresses the university's commitment to search for knowledge-based solutions to societal and world problems. Public engagement is an interpretation of the university's outreach mission that emphasizes being proactive (actively engaged) and having a public impact. It implies a broadening of the historic land grant mission of the university.

These four pillars of Cornell imply a set of core values that stand at the center of Cornell as an institution.

  • Seek knowledge
  • Support free and open intellectual inquiry and expression
  • Sustain excellence in teaching, research, and public engagement
  • Use knowledge to enlighten ourselves and benefit the world
  • Reward and recognize merit, creativity, and innovation
  • Treat all individuals with dignity, respect, and fairness
  • Embrace difference and diversity
  • Promote cross-cultural and cross-national understanding
  • Be a collaborative, collegial, and caring community
  • Be accessible and affordable to all who meet high academic standards

Themes in the values include excellence, diversity and inclusion, openness, and collaboration.

Outstanding, accessible faculty

Fully engaged in the process of discovery, Cornell's faculty does pioneering research that influences numerous areas of knowledge. In an unusually collaborative culture, faculty members often work in multidisciplinary teams across departments, colleges and schools. Accessible and dedicated teachers, they provide insight and inspiration that change students' lives.

Unmatched breadth and depth

Cornell has created a culture of broad and deep inquiry within its 14 colleges and schools – eleven in Ithaca (seven undergraduate and four graduate and professional), two in New York City, and one in Doha. In this rich academic environment, students can do in–depth study within their major field and have access to an extraordinary range of courses and experiences.

Intellectual rigor, theoretical and applied

A Cornell education is challenging and intense. Students push themselves as well as the boundaries of their fields of study. They get exposure to new technologies and ideas, within a dynamic mix of theoretical and applied studies, so they are able to envision–and apply–new solutions to complex problems.

Direct impact, local and global

Cornell's faculty and students view the world's major issues as their own challenges. Every day, through Cornell's academic and service programs, they drive change by developing new sustainable energy, agriculture and materials research; advancing animal and human health and well–being; preventing disease; leading positive economic development; finding solutions for intractable social problems like poverty and hunger; and strengthening communities through education and outreach. Their work improves the lives of people within New York State and across the planet.

Commitment to inclusivity

Since its beginnings in 1865, Cornell's vision of higher education has been uniquely practical and egalitarian. All forms of knowledge are explored. All people are welcome, regardless of their background or circumstance. In fact, Cornell was one of the first institutions to admit female students and people of color. This spirit of inclusivity continues to inform all that we do as we move into the future.

Special place

Cornell has all the facilities one would expect in an Ivy League university: historic and modern buildings, new and expertly renovated facilities for contemporary research, all developed with attention to academic collaboration and environmental responsibility. What's unexpected is the feeling of the place. Part of it is the dramatic setting: high on a hill above Cayuga Lake, amid picturesque gorges and gardens. The other part is the traditions and history. For those who have been here, this all creates a special place in our lives for Cornell.

Vibrant community

At Cornell, we live and work close together, often within walking distance, in a small city marked by cultural and intellectual diversity. This environment promotes discourse and respects differences of opinion, creating a sense of interconnectedness. Attracting the best and the brightest, it is a highly valued, caring community where students, faculty and staff form bonds that last a lifetime.

  • ... any person ... any study.
  • Knowledge with a public purpose.
  • Cornell is the first truly American university.
  • Cornell's students work hard, get ahead, and give back.
  • At Cornell, students make friends for life.
  • Cornell is the original opportunity university.
  • Cornell aspires to be the most democratic Ivy.
  • Within reach, pushing boundaries.
  • There is but one Cornell, and we are local everywhere.
  • The land–grant university to the world.
  • Cornell is a caring community that cares about building communities.
  • Cornell–expanding the world's collective knowledge.
  • Cornell's culture encourages individuals who challenge themselves to be the best that they can be.
  • Interdisciplinary collaboration is encouraged, practiced, and facilitates research with real–world, global impact.
  • Cornellians are a diverse community of people and ideas who are dedicated to serving the public good and fulfilling Cornell's land–grant mission.