Welcome back message

Dear Members of the Cornell Community,

Welcome to the start of the fall semester. Whether you are in Ithaca, New York City, Geneva, or another location, I am pleased to welcome you to one of the world’s finest research universities.

Although we are spread across several geographic locations, we are “one Cornell,” connected by a common mission of learning, discovery, and engagement. I encourage you to contribute to our academic community and to take advantage of the many opportunities for professional and personal growth that are available at Cornell.

During my first months back at Cornell as interim president, I have spent time on the Ithaca campus, at Weill Cornell Medicine, and at Cornell Tech, learning what faculty members are pursuing in research and scholarship. More than ever before, that work involves making connections with colleagues on other Cornell campuses. This is a subject we will be exploring in more detail during the coming year.

One of the issues of immediate concern to all of us in New York State is the severe drought that has persisted through the summer. The Ithaca campus is now operating under water restrictions and must cut usage by 30 percent to maintain operations critical to its mission. I encourage Cornellians in areas affected by the drought to conserve our water resources. Coming together to address environmental and related challenges is something we do well, and our efforts are critically important this year.

Beyond the drought, there is no escaping the fact that this has been a turbulent summer, around the nation and around the world. Some of the events and atrocities we have followed call into question our values as a society. Many at home and abroad are concerned about their personal safety. During the year, we will have an opportunity as a community to contemplate the meaning and impacts of these national and global events through a variety of formal programs and conversations, and I invite you to participate. We have established a website that will be continually updated to keep you apprised of such opportunities. As a university community that prides itself on openness, academic freedom, and engagement with societal challenges, we have much to learn from one another.

I am honored to be back at Cornell and excited about what we will accomplish together. Here’s to a great year!

Yours sincerely,

Hunter R. Rawlings III
Interim President