Welcome back message

Dear Members of the Cornell Community,

On this first day of classes on the Ithaca campus, I want to welcome everyone to the start of the 2017-18 academic year and to all the possibilities and opportunities that lie ahead of us, individually and as a university.

Since my husband, Ken Gottschlich, and I arrived here last April with our four cats, we’ve been getting to know our new community. Now, four months in, we all feel very much at home, and I’m more convinced than ever that Cornell – with its dedicated staff, distinguished faculty, wonderfully diverse and accomplished students, and passionate alumni – is a great university, with so much to offer the world.

Later this week I’ll highlight some of the things that make Cornell great during my inauguration as Cornell’s 14th president, and I hope many of you will be able to participate in person or by watching the CornellCast livestreams of selected events. Additionally, I invite faculty, students and staff based in New York City to join me for an inauguration reception on Thursday, September 14, from 5:30-7 p.m. in the Belfer Research Building at Weill Cornell Medicine.

In just a few weeks, we will formally open our new Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island and celebrate the unprecedented opportunities for the entire university that our expanding footprint in New York City presents.

It’s going to be a busy and exciting year for Cornell as we work together to shape the university’s future; a future with limitless potential, grounded in our enduring commitment to diversity and inclusion that is the legacy of Ezra Cornell’s and Andrew Dickson White’s founding principle of “…any person…any study.” My hope is that we can come together as a community, committed to supporting one another and unified in rejecting hatred, bigotry and supremacy. There are so many forms of bigotry – sexism, racism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, ableism and, unfortunately, more. We must repudiate them all and thereby demonstrate what it means to be a place where “any person” is welcome.


Martha E. Pollack