[MUSIC PLAYING] SPEAKER 1: Ladies and gentlemen, the inaugural procession has begun and will arrive shortly on the Arts Quadrangle for the installation ceremony. Leading the procession is the University Marshal Charles Walcott. Following the university marshal are the delegates representing other universities, colleges, and schools. They will enter the quadrangle in order of their founding year.
Institutions represented include Harvard University, Yale University, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, Columbia University, University of Pittsburgh, University of North Carolina, Williams College, Union College, Hartwick College, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Norwich University, University of Virginia, Indiana University, Amherst College, Trinity College, State University of New York at Fredonia, University of Toronto, Rochester Institute of Technology, New York University, Oberlin College and Conservatory, Tulane University, The College at Brockport, Alfred University, Mount Holyoke College, Duke University, Boston University, Bucknell University, University at Buffalo, University of Iowa, University of Rochester, University of the Pacific, Tufts University.
Manhattan College, University of Florida, Washington University in Saint Louis, Cornell College, Elmira College, Michigan State University, Saint Lawrence University, University of Maryland, Iowa State University, St. Bonaventure University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Swarthmore College, Carleton College, Robert Wesleyan College, University of New Hampshire, Wells College, Syracuse University, State University of New York at Geneseo, Texas Christian University, Vanderbilt University, Wellesley College, Johns Hopkins University, University of Southern California, Houghton College, Bryn Mawr College, Georgia Institute of Technology, Stanford University, State University of New York College at Oneonta, Keuka College, California Institute of Technology.
Ithaca College, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Adelphi University, Alfred State College, Morrisville State College, Connecticut College, State University of New York College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill, Rice University, The Sage Colleges, University of California Los Angeles, Sarah Lawrence College, Marist College, University of California Santa Barbara, Helene Fuld College of Nursing, Binghamton University, Gilan University, Le Moyne College, Paul Smith's College, Utica College, State University of New York, Corning Community College. Dutchess Community College, Tompkins Cortland Community College, Touro College and University System.
Following the delegates are the representatives of the assemblies of Cornell University. The procession includes members of the student assembly, graduate assembly, and professional student assembly, employee assembly, and university assembly. The assemblies are followed by the Reserve Officers Training Corps, or ROTC, represented by Major Lisa Gasque of the Army ROTC, and by Captain James Horten of Navy ROTC, and Captain Kevin O'Brien of Air Force ROTC.
Now entering the Arts Quadrangle are university library representatives led by Anne Kenney, the Carl A. Kroch University Librarian. The dean of the university faculty, Joseph A. Burns, is leading the university faculty and academic staff. Each of the colleges and schools is led by two student representatives bearing the name banner, the dean, and a staff representative bearing the symbol banner.
Now entering the quadrangle is the New York State College of Veterinary Medicine led by interim dean Lorin D. Warnick.
Next is the Cornell Law School, led by Eduardo M. Penalver, the Allan R. Tessler Dean. The Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management is led by Soumitra Dutta, the Anne and Elmer Lindseth Dean.
Now arriving is the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning, led by Kent Kleinman, the Gail and Ira Drukier Dean.
Next is the School of Industrial and Labor Relations, led by Kevin F. Hallock, the Kenneth F. Kahn Dean.
We are now joined by the School of Hotel Administration, led by Steve Carvell, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
Entering the quadrangle is the College of Human Ecology, led by Rachel Dunifon, Associate Dean for Research and Outreach.
Next is the College of Engineering, led by Lance R. Collins, the Joseph Silbert Dean.
Now arriving is the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, led by Kathryn J. Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean.
And finally, we are joined by the College of Arts and Sciences, led by Gretchen Ritter, the Harold Tanner Dean.
Now processing into the quadrangle, are Cornell University Provost Michael Kotlikoff and the Provost for Medical Affairs, Laurie Glimcher.
Next in the procession are the administrative officers of Cornell University.
Now entering the quadrangle are two Cornell's former university presidents, President Emeritus David J. Skorton, who served from 2006 until June 30, 2015, and President Jeffrey Lehman, who served from 2003 to 2005. They are joined by Frank Rhodes, President Emeritus who served from 1977 to 1995.
The former university presidents are followed by the lieutenant governor of New York State, Kathy Hochul.
Next in the procession is the Chairman of the Cornell University Board of Trustees, Robert Harrison, followed by members of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees, of Jan Rock Zubrow and Andrew Tisch, who are joined by members of the university's Board of Trustees.
The inaugural readers are BJ Siasoco, Chair of the Employee Assembly, Juliana Batista, President of the Student Assembly, Richard Walroth, President of the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly, followed by the inaugural poet, Alice Fulton, the Anne S. Bowers Professor of English.
The platform party is being led by the bearer of the university charter, trustee Ezra Cornell, lineal descendant of the founder. Followed by the bearer of the great seal of the university, employee-elected trustee Alan Mittman, and the bearer of the university mace, Cornell professor and faculty-elected trustee, Barbara Baird.
Ladies and gentlemen, will be audience please stand at this time? Thank you.
Now entering the quadrangle is President Elizabeth Garrett.
CHARLES WALCOTT: Mr. Chairman, we are gathered here today to celebrate the inauguration of the 13th president of Cornell University. Delegates from other universities, colleges, and schools, community members from Ithaca, Tompkins County, and New York State, members of the faculty, staff, and administrative officers of Cornell University, members of the assemblies of the university, representatives of the ROTC, alumni and students of the university, members of the board of trustees, members and friends of the Garrett family, and esteemed guests are in their places. The assembly for the inaugural convocation is hereby called to order. Will you please be seated.
BOB HARRISON: Good morning. It is my honor on behalf of the Cornell Board of Trustees to welcome you to this momentous occasion, the inauguration of Elizabeth Garrett as the 13th president of Cornell University. I extend a special thank you to those who have traveled great distances to join us today, delegates of institutions of higher education and learned societies and alumni from around the world. The presence of the faculty, students, and staff, together with alumni in such large numbers, attest to the commitment we all share to our proud alma mater and its noble ideals.
Elizabeth Garrett is the 13th in a series of extraordinary leaders who have over 150 years helped build Cornell. I'm especially pleased to welcome the presidents who preceded her in office, who are here among us today to bear witness to the solemn but joyous occasion. David Skorton, Cornell's 12th president, Jeffrey Lehman, Cornell's 11th president, Frank Rhodes, Cornell's ninth president. I also want to express my deep appreciation to my colleagues on the board of trustees, and especially to the members of the presidential search committee for their commitment and wisdom. I particularly want to thank Jan Rock Zubrow, chair of the presidential search committee, for her strong and balanced leadership. My thanks also go to the vice chairs of the board, David Kroll and Andrew Tisch, as well as my predecessors as chairman, Pete Meinig, Harold Tanner, and Austin Kiplinger, who incidentally will be celebrating his 97th birthday tomorrow.
They have guided this great university with selfless devotion, a respect for its history, and a constant desire to elevate Cornell's stature ever higher. I'm also honored to welcome the lieutenant governor of the state of New York, Kathleen Hochul, representing Governor Cuomo, just as New York's lieutenant governor represented governor Fenton at Cornell's first presidential inauguration in 1868. Would all of you please stand so that we can recognize you?
Let me also thank those who are with me on the platform to assist in the formal installation of the president. Professor Charles Walcott, the university marshal, trustee Ezra Cornell, the bearer of the charter, Alan Mittman employee-elected trustee and bearer of the university seal, and professor Barbara Baird, the faculty-elected trustee and bearer of the mace. Finally, I take great pleasure in welcoming to the Cornell family Elizabeth Garrett's husband, professor Andrei Marmor. Welcome to all.
Last October we commemorated the beginning of Cornell University's sesquicentennial celebration with the dedication of the sesquicentennial grove at the top of Libe Slope just behind me. Inscribed in one of the massive concrete blocks overlooking Cayuga Lake, and aligned with the statues of Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White, are the words of historian Morris Bishop, class of 1913, who said, "It is your duty to look forward and not back, and without forgetting old wisdom to seek a wisdom ever new to prepare an even greater Cornell." Bishop's exhortation is especially meaningful today as we celebrate the inauguration of Cornell University's 13th president. His advice is at once practical and lofty, exactly like Cornell.
The Cornell University that Elizabeth Garrett inherits today has been shaped by its traditions and achievements, but also by an adamant refusal to sit still and accept the status quo. I believe that it is this dynamic that has built the Cornell that we cherish. Ever since its founding 150 years ago as a revolutionary, democratic, anti-elitist, and quintessentially American institution, the activities that have taken place on this idyllic hill in upstate New York have had a lasting consequence for the rest of higher education and for the rest of the world. It is fitting as we turn the page on our year-long celebration of the sesquicentennial that we begin the next 150 years with a historic first. For the first time in 150 years, Cornell University has chosen as its president a person from the great state of Oklahoma. And also a woman.
I am incredibly proud of the presidential search committee for the comprehensive, diligent, and tireless work that led this 21-person team to select Elizabeth Garrett for this role. They saw in her the kind of intellect, vision, and character that this complex and consequential university needs to begin writing its next chapter. Although I have a very hard time accepting the fact that I am old enough to say this, next June I will celebrate my 40th Cornell reunion. Over four decades as a Cornellian, I've had the privilege of witnessing the evolution of the modern-day Cornell University and observing the contributions of five presidents up close. When I arrived in Ithaca in August of 1972 and could barely manage to find the way to my dorm room on the third floor of University Hall Five, which thankfully no longer exists, I never imagined that one day I might have the extraordinary honor of participating in the inauguration of a university president, much less one whose inauguration is historic.
The character of this university may be the same in many ways, but Cornell is a much more complex, wide-ranging, and far-reaching institution than it was when I was an undergraduate. Women comprised one-third of the student body then. Women comprise the majority now. The number of students from underrepresented minority groups has nearly tripled since I was a freshman. Only a few dozen students studied abroad in the 1970s. Today nearly 30% of undergraduates take part in courses or research overseas. The number of students earning degrees at our medical college in New York City has more than doubled since the 1970s, and that college now includes a campus in Doha, Qatar. Personal computers were barely more than glimmers in the eyes of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates when I typed my term papers on a borrowed IBM Selectric, and today the first four buildings of Cornell Tech are rising on Roosevelt Island to educate the next generation of technologists.
These developments were led by Cornell's last five presidents. I have had the great fortune to know each of Elizabeth Garrett's predecessors since I was an undergraduate, and each of them has made this university stronger and better than the institution he inherited. Dale Corson, president during my student days and a hugely influential mentor to me personally, successfully led us through a period of unprecedented unrest. A period that included the final years of the Vietnam War, intense student activism for social justice and a larger role in university governance, and even the first ever armed occupation of a building on American campus.
Our beloved ninth president, Frank Rhodes, was a Cornell icon and a public intellectual whose popularity must have been assisted to some degree by his intoxicating British accent. His speeches and written work on the changing landscape of higher education in America made him a national resource. And in Ithaca he ambitiously re-envisioned Cornell as the land grant university not just to New York State, but to the world.
Hunter Rawlings, our 10th president completely transformed the campus experience for undergraduates. He reimagined north campus as the welcoming home for all 3,000 freshmen who would arrive each August, and West Campus as the living learning environment for upperclassmen in the great tradition of Oxford and Cambridge residential colleges. Fortunately, his vision required the demolition of the university halls.
Jeff Lehman, my friend from our undergraduate years and the first alumnus to serve as president, focused our attention on our global footprint, particularly the importance of Asia. This is a chapter of Cornell history that urgently needs to be completed.
David Skorton, the first president I had the privilege of serving under as chairman of the board and helping to select, will be remembered as a Renaissance man, a scientist, a humanist, and a musician. He steered Cornell through the great recession while also investing significantly in financial aid to keep Cornell a place where any person could come to find instruction in any study. He highlighted the importance of ensuring that Cornell remains a caring community for the sake of our students' mental and physical health. And perhaps most visibly to the outside world, he led the team that won the competition to create Cornell Tech in New York City.
It is against this backdrop that Elizabeth Garrett assumes her role as Cornell's 13th president. The challenges facing higher education and Cornell today are great, but the opportunities are greater, and Cornell has never been positioned better on the global stage.
At the beginning of our next 150 years we have profoundly important opportunities and obligations to address. We must continue to fulfill our mission as the land grant university to the world. We must do everything we can to make Cornell affordable for anyone who has the talent and ambition to study here. We must bring out the very best of our Ithaca, New York City and Qatar campuses to ensure that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. We must take advantage of technology, not only to educate our own students better, but also to democratize access to knowledge for the broader public we serve. We must take advantage of our incomparable physical environment to provide our students with a residential educational experience second to none. We must attract and support the strongest possible faculty, teachers, scholars, and researchers to achieve all of these aspirations.
President Garrett, we have complete confidence in your ability to lead the university into the future. As you begin your new role, please consider a few pieces of advice from someone who was loved this university deeply for more than 40 years. First, understand and cherish Cornell's revolutionary uniqueness in American higher education. Second, build upon the rock-solid foundation of your predecessors. Finally, enjoy every minute of your time at this ambitious, opinionated, engaged, and otherwise thinking place called Cornell. You have one of the very best jobs in the entire world. I know that all 250,000 living Cornellians want you to succeed beyond your and our wildest dreams. In all likelihood, every one of them will be calling or emailing you directly to share their thoughts about how to make Cornell even better. Cornellians are maniacally eager to help.
President Garrett, on behalf of the entire university community, I am honored and thrilled to welcome you as Cornell University's 13th president.
CORNELL GLEE CLUB: [SINGING] Strike up a song to Cornell and let the swelling chorus rise before us. Strike up a song to Cornell and set the campus ringing with our singing. Fill the glasses with a song and drink the magic music spell. We will sound the joy of life intense with our rousing toast to Cornell. Strike up a song to Cornell and let the swelling chorus rise before us. Strike up a song to Cornell and set the campus ringing with our singing. Fill the glasses with a song and drink the magic music spell. We will sound the joy of life intense in our rousing toast to Cornell. Strike up a song to Cornell. Come let us strike up a song to Cornell. Strike up a song to Cornell.
BOB HARRISON: Thank you to the Cornell University Chorus. I now call upon our new president, Elisabeth Garrett, to whom we shall pass the torch with great confidence, to join me at the podium.
It is my distinct honor and high privilege on behalf of the board of trustees of Cornell University to present to you our compliments and best wishes, to convey to you our sense of satisfaction and confidence upon your accession to office, and to declare you now in the presence of this assembly, installed as president of Cornell University.
Into your hands is placed the administration of this university, and into your hands are placed the symbols of that authority. Madame President, as was done in the installation of earlier presidents, let me present to you the charter of the university. Let it be for you a constant reminder of our mission of service to the people of the state, the nation, and the world. Now Madame President, may I entrust you with the great seal of the university, which since our earliest days has been affixed to the diplomas of Cornell graduates. The great seal bears the profile likeness of our founder, Ezra Cornell, encircled by his noble charge to all responsible for the future of the university. "I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study." May these words be kept forever in your heart. Lastly, Madame President, receive the mace of the university. Use the authority which this mace symbolizes with goodness and intelligence, not only for the benefit of all Cornellians, but for the good of men and women everywhere.
ELIZABETH GARRETT: Thank you.
BOB HARRISON: President Garrett, we stand with you today and share your confidence that Cornell's rock solid foundation and revolutionary spirit offer just the right springboard to launch your vision for the evolution of this great university.
ELIZABETH GARRETT: "As you set out for Ithaca, hope your road is a long one. Full of adventure, full of discovery. Lestrygonians, Cyclops, angry Poseidon, don't be afraid of them. You'll never find things like that on your way as long as you keep your thoughts raised high, as long as a rare excitement stirs your spirit and your body." So begins the poem "Ithaca," by CP Cavafy, about the journey home undertaken by Ulysses, and about all our journeys to the Ithacas in our lives. As Cornellians know, Ithaca is not only a place that profoundly affects those who spend time on this campus, but Ithaca, Cornell, is also a state of mind, both a beginning and the destination for a journey characterized by a rare excitement that stirs the spirit, body, and intellect.
The spirit of Cornell that frames our journey has been best described by our own historian, the late Carl Becker. Becker explained that Cornell's character is formed by a different sort of freedom than that which characterizes other universities. "Something less formal, something less self-regarding, something more worldly, something-- I venture to say-- a bit more impudent."
The Cornell spirit emanates from Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White, whose vision led them to invent many of the unique attributes of American higher education. The collaboration of Cornell and White-- two "rebels against convention"-- created a university dedicated to the liberal arts, while simultaneously affirming the imperative to discover useful applications for our research and creative work. An institution committed to egalitarianism, though not always well-implemented, that affirmed the importance of higher education for women, people of color, and students of all economic backgrounds.
A curriculum empowering students with greater choice, and an openness to new degrees and areas of studies in disciplines ranging from veterinary sciences to electrical engineering. From American studies to architecture, from modern Far Eastern languages to industrial and labor relations.
This spirit of freedom, Becker told us, brings with it responsibility. We set the pace in higher education by reevaluating and recreating the work we do every day to ensure that it meets today's challenges while remaining true to our deeply held academic values. As scientist and author Edwin Slosson challenged us more than a century ago in his analysis of great American universities, we expect more of Cornell. Cornell, in order to be conservative in the sense of being true to its traditions, must be radical and progressive, for that is the way that it started.
So what do we do to remain true to our Ithaca? Our state of mind, journey, and destination, as we embark on our next 150 years? First, the faculty of a great university define its spirit. They hold fast to principles of excellence and academic freedom while leading in discovery, creation, and innovation. How will we support and enhance this vibrant community of scholars, researchers, and artists as we move forward? Second, our journey is shared by talented and ambitious students. How can we continue to ensure that the value of their time in Ithaca is broadly appreciated and continually improved? And third, our Ithaca now spans the globe, spreading our impudent and revolutionary idea of far beyond Cayuga's waters.
How will we take advantage of this to augment all that we do? Listen to Cavafy. "Hope your road is a long one. May there be many summer mornings when with what pleasure, what joy, you enter harbors you're seeing for the first time. And may visit many Egyptian cities to learn and go on learning from their scholars." When AD White began to implement his plan for Cornell University, his highest priority was hiring faculty. "Better a splendid and complete faculty in a barn," he said, "Than an insufficient faculty in a palace." The recruitment, retention, and development of the best faculty remain our paramount priorities, and exceptional faculty is the bedrock of our teaching, research, creative work, and our public mission.
It is the faculty who attract the finest students and inspire them to embark on their own adventures of learning. It is the faculty who seek to discover new knowledge, move us forward in the search for truth, and apply what we have discovered in ways that improve well-being across the globe. It is the faculty whom our alumni remember when they speak of their years at Cornell. It is the faculty, as well as our students, whose work inspires our dedicated staff to ensure that all aspects of our environment are conducive to our educational mission.
Our objective with regard to faculty is to strive always for excellence. Excellence that is multifaceted and manifested in a myriad of ways. It includes an obligation to foster diversity of viewpoint, of experience, of identity, race, and gender, and of methodology. We celebrate excellence in fundamental research and scholarship pursued for the sheer joy of discovery. And, given our unique status as New York's land grant university, an essential partner in its cooperative extension system, we also define excellence to include applying that knowledge to the world's most pressing problems.
Related to the freedoms that we enjoy, faculty have many responsibilities to each other, to junior colleagues, to the institution, to the staff who work alongside us. But none are more important than our responsibility to our students. To send them off on their own journeys "to learn and go on learning" as they set sail to distant an unknown harbors. Cornell provides an opportunity for learning in and out of the classroom. In our residence halls, in the multiplicity of events on our campus, in a conversation during a faculty member's office hours, in the field doing research around the globe, or in a lab or studio playing a role in a collaborative effort. Our teaching strategies are subject to constant review and revision as we seek to incorporate the best about new technology while retaining a deep appreciation for the beauty of a great lecture, a well structured essay, or a closely reasoned argument.
We bring our research into the classroom, refining our students' innate curiosity so they learn how to discover and create knowledge, not just how to absorb it. We move our teaching into the world through initiatives such as Engaged Cornell, allowing students to analyze problems with rigor, devise solutions, and apply those approaches in our local and global communities. We seek to develop in our students a resilience to face an exciting and unknown future, an appreciation for the life of the mind, and a commitment to rationality and reason as the tools with which we approach today's problems, while preserving an appreciation for the arts and humanities that help us understand what it means to be human.
How do we expect more of Cornell with regard to our faculty? Certainly we need more outstanding faculty at all levels, and we must ensure that our processes support them in their research, scholarship, outreach, and teaching, enabling experimentation, collaboration, diversity of perspective, global interactions, and risk taking. We are in a competitive environment when it comes to attracting the best faculty talent, but we believe Cornell has a uniquely appealing environment for a faculty committed to excellence in their work. We offer the support of this entire institution to facilitate their success as scholars and teachers, and the opportunity to work at a university that is deeply collegial. We will continue to strive to bring the best faculty to Cornell and to create an atmosphere in which they can embark on their own journeys to the Ithacas, to which they aspire.
But we must also heed the call to be radical and progressive. And in that regard, we must understand the motto given to us by Ezra Cornell, "I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study", in a way that is compatible with the unwavering pursuit of excellence in a world infinitely more complex than he could have imagined. Certainly we now offer access to any person seeking the best education much more successfully than our founder was able to, following through on that promise to women, people of color, and students from around the world. We must do even better in that commitment, and we will.
We remain dedicated to the diversity of disciplines and subjects that we find on all our campuses, but realistically, no institution can be excellent in any study. The faculty instead must focus our energy and resources strategically. We must critically assess all that we are doing and choose which studies to emphasize in our quest for excellence. We must organize ourselves in ways that ensure our work has the greatest impact, that propel us forward to innovations a new applications, and that allow for fruitful collaborations among faculty and students. In this analysis, we must be guided by the spirit of any study, by defining our scholarly targets with breadth, taking account of our history and public mission, by defining excellence to include not only the best research in creative work, but our impact on policy and the quality of life throughout the world, and by an openness to new understandings of disciplines, collaborations, and methods of scholarship.
Ithaca. Journey, destination, but also a way of perceiving the world. Listen again to Cavafy. "Keep Ithaca always in your mind. Arriving there is what you're destined for. But don't hurry the journey at all. Better if it lasts for years, so your old by the time you reach the island, wealthy with all you've gained along the way." The foundation of a university is its faculty, but its future, and a large part of its influence in the world, lie in its students who become alumni. President Jacob Gould Schurman described our founding vision with regard to students we hope to attract. "The people of New York saw a new type of university arise in their midst. The first in the history of education. An institution embracing the entire range of human knowledge and attainment and opening its doors to young men, and women too, who craved the light and power of intelligence for any purpose whatever to live or make a living."
And with that Cornell began its radical and progressive approach to education. Empowering students to make decisions about what they would study and brilliantly combining the liberal arts with study that was explicitly structured to equip students for practical endeavors. An education that sought not just impart knowledge to students eager to learn, but to make them our partners in learning and discovery. It is their educational adventure, shaped both by the experience of this Ithaca, and the objective of reaching their own Ithacas, that we celebrate this weekend at homecoming. Just as Cavafy observes, it is the process of learning and acquiring wisdom that is paramount, because our quest continues to the end of our days and then is pursued by the next generation.
Now I realize that higher education in the United States is the subject of great public criticism. Pundits and politicians contend the cost is too great, the value questionable, the experience not sufficiently valuable, and the opportunity not fully accessible to all who deserve it. Certainly there's room for improvement in any institution of great durability, but it is beyond dispute that an intense, residential undergraduate experience at America's great research universities is one of the very best investments that any family can make. Because of their experience at Cornell, our graduates will have more fulfilling opportunities on their journeys, they will have brighter economic futures, but most importantly, they will experience life's adventures more deeply and with greater satisfaction. Their education is worthy of their own investment, our country's investment, and the investment of Cornellians who have come before them because our graduates will define the future.
Professor Liberty Hyde Bailey, who helped shape the character of our College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, declared, "Education is an inspiration, a taking hold of a broader life." That kind of education can be found across our campus every day and around the world as our students explore the globe. It is evident in our residence halls, were students of all backgrounds and diverse views come together to debate, reason, and learn. It's expressed through the discussion of a great book or a play as students meet in a welcoming nook of the Cornell library and wrestle with age old questions of what it means to lead a valuable and engaged life. It occurs in the labs as our students work with faculty to design experiments, not all of which succeed. But even then, there's much to be learned together in an environment of discovery.
It can be witnessed in our Johnson Museum of Art as students and faculty are inspired by creative work to think together about culture, identity, and beauty. It is on display in the incubators and offices where our students move their ideas into society, experiencing the joy of invention and innovation. In the face of criticism of higher education generally, we must defend what we know to be true. The educational journey that begins here in Ithaca in the unique undergraduate environment is worthwhile and valuable. There is nothing comparable anywhere else in the world. It is why the ambitious of every country aspire to study in an American research university. It is an opportunity that we will continue to make available to our students from every walk of life, every background, every state and country if they are equipped and eager to benefit from it.
In the next months, we at Cornell will focus more intensely on the residential undergraduate experience, defining as a community what shared intellectual experience all Cornell students should encounter, and ensuring that they can more easily navigate the complexities of our diverse university to construct meaningful plans of study. We also value our graduate and professional students for their many contributions to the academic and cultural life of our university. And we are confident that their Cornell experience profoundly shapes their potential for further contribution within and beyond the academy.
Now of course, we must always seek ways to increase the value of the time spent in this particular port on life's journey. Not just through assessing how and what we teach, but by ensuring that all undergraduate students will be on a trajectory for their future journeys when they graduate, and that graduate students learn professional skills as well as refine their intellectual talents. Accordingly, we will continue to focus on enhancing career services we offer our students, helping them think about each decision from their first semester at Cornell in terms of moves them forward to graduate study, particular professions, entrepreneurial projects, or other directions. This practical objective comes directly from Ezra Cornell's vision. Moreover, it supports a robust liberal arts curriculum for all our students because it is the liberal arts that best equip us to think critically, read closely, act ethically, react empathetically, and celebrate beauty.
Cavafy continues to lead us on the journey. "May you stop at Phoenician trading stations to buy find things. Mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony, sensual perfume of every kind." As we interpret our founding vision for the 21st century, we do so in an institution that has brought the Cornell spirit far beyond this serene campus. Those who are on this journey of discovery can stop at our trading stations around the globe in Tanzania and Rome. In Geneva, New York, and Doha, Qatar. In Washington DC and Maine. In every county in New York through our cooperative extension presence.
Most significantly, Cornell is not only established in a great college town, but we also have a substantial footprint in an international urban center, a duality that no other leading American research university can claim. Our involvement in New York City has grown over more than 100 years, beginning with the exceptional Weill Cornell Medical College and its many partnerships with clinical and research institutions, expanding sites where several of our schools pursue teaching, research, and outreach missions. And now including Cornell Tech, which is already redefining graduate education. In about two years Cornell will open a new campus on Roosevelt Island, providing a new way station for those en route to their own Ithacas of invention and exploration.
Our decision to embark on this opportunity presented by Cornell Tech provides an example of our modern interpretation of any person, any study. Mayor Michael Bloomberg described our new intellectual endeavour in words I think Ezra Cornell would've appreciated. "This new land grant can help dreamers and entrepreneurs from around the world come to New York and help us become the world's leading city for technological innovation." But this opportunity becomes a defining moment for Cornell only if we bring Ithaca to Roosevelt Island and New York City, and bring the lessons we learn there back to faculty, students, and staff here. We cannot allow physical distance to keep us from integrating all that we do in New York City with the long established excellence in Ithaca, the campus that will always represent the wellspring of the Cornell spirit.
What does our expanded role in New York City mean for Cornell's continuing journey to shape higher education in the world? At least three things. First, all our colleges must consider ways to connect with Cornell Tech, just as Johnson is doing with a new degree and plans for executive education on Roosevelt Island, and the law school will launch in a few months with its new degree. I challenge every school to consider how deep collaborations in teaching, or researching creative work, or outreach can be developed to establish excellence we could not have imagined had we not established this new port of learning.
These connections are imperative for our ambitions. We cannot lead the world in thinking about how advances in technologies relate to human well-being, methods of communication, or the built environment without bringing all the disciplines to bear. The humanities must lead, causing us to ask challenging questions about the values undergirding change, and to develop new ways of explaining and understanding what we've learned. The social sciences must provide insights into the policies and practices that new technologies will engender or require to reach its full potential. Diverse perspectives will force us to confront inequality of opportunity that limits, and perhaps perverts, technological advances. The connections of Cornell Tech to life and physical sciences in Ithaca and Weill Cornell are perhaps more evident, but no less important. And the work our researchers pursue in fundamental discovery-driven science will provide the basis for future applications by colleagues on Roosevelt Island.
Second, faculty at Cornell Tech and the schools located in New York City are creating new graduate degrees that emphasize collaboration, practice-based pedagogy, and new delivery platforms. Our faculty have identified skills and original ways of thinking that people around the world need to succeed, and they are creating educational programs to meet those needs. All of us, not just those associated with our newest campus in New York City, must consider how Cornell can build on areas of excellence, and with flexibility and creativity offer innovative graduate degrees, some with technologies that span the globe, to ensure that more people are ready to meet the challenges of the future. Done at the highest levels of excellence, new ventures and graduate and professional education extend our influence and are fully consistent with our mission expressed by President Edmund Ezra Day, "To perpetuate and to create."
Finally, we must work together to understand difficult problems of our age. Among them, sustainability and climate change, new approaches to health and well being, the challenge of growing global and domesticate inequality, the influence of technology, and the design of effective democratic institutions. And devise solutions through interdisciplinary and inter-campus collaboration. I will work with the provosts, deans, and faculty to put structures in place that generate and nurture those collaborations, not just internally, but through increasing our ability to obtain external funding from governments, foundations, corporations, and philanthropies.
The connections we are forming with outside entities eager to support our entrepreneurial ambitions made salient by Cornell Tech must benefit not only our faculty and campus in New York City, but they must reach this campus, bringing new possibilities to faculty and students here, and creating economic opportunities not just for New York City, but for Ithaca and upstate as well.
Certainly we already have collaboration spanning Ithaca and New York City, but the potential for cutting edge, influential research and teaching is much greater than we'd realized so far. Our academic community must be bold in our ambition. Our journey of exploration which emanates from Ithaca and will always return to Ithaca will wind through many ports of call, allowing us to learn, and teach, and discover more than if we had merely stayed safe at home.
And so I embark on my journey-- a new journey-- with you as the 13th president of this remarkable institution. I am confident that we will lead the world in creating new paths to discovery, knowledge, and the many ways we can move closer to truth in launching our students on their own voyages. We are charting our course for the next 150 years, a period that will be "Full of adventure, full of discovery, a rare excitement."
We will remain true to Carl Becker's exhortation, "Holding fast to Cornell's ancient tradition of freedom and responsibility-- freedom for the scholar to perform his proper function, restrained and guided by the only thing that makes such freedom worthwhile, the scholar's intellectual integrity, the scholar's devotion to the truth of things as they are, and to goodwill and humane dealing." And we enlist our students and colleagues on our travels, enabling them to strike out on their own at the right time and with success, fortified with intellectual curiosity, by grace in dealing with others, by a strong faith in science and reason, and by a joy in the arts and humanities.
We began this particular voyage with the opening words of Cavafy's great poem. Let us conclude with his final words, which will comfort us on the journey ahead. "Ithaca gave you a marvelous journey. Without her you wouldn't have set out. Wise as you will have become, so full of experience, you'll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean." I look forward to working with all Cornellians-- faculty, students, staff, alumni, parents, and supporters-- to navigate the next stage of this remarkable journey, traveling to the many diverse Ithakas that await our discovery. Thank you.
CORNELL UNIVERSITY CHORUS: [SINGING] Will the circle be unbroken by and by, Lord, by and by. There's a better home awaiting if we try, Lord, if we try. I was singing with my sisters, I was singing with my friends. And we all can sing together cause the circle never ends. Will the circle be unbroken by and by, Lord, by and by. There's a better home awaiting if we try, Lord, if we try. I was born down in the valley where the sun refused to shine. But I'm climbing to the high land. Gonna make that mountain mine. Will the circle be unbroken by and by, Lord, by and by. There's a better home awaiting in the sky, Lord, in the sky. In the sky, Lord, in the sky.
CHARLES WALCOTT: Reading selections from Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White are leaders of the assemblies of the university. University employee BJ Siasoco, undergraduate student Juliana Batista, and doctoral student Richard Walroth.
BJ SIASOCO: A letter from Ezra Cornell dated May 15, 1873. "Coeducation of the sexes, an entire freedom from sectarian or political preferences, is the only proper and safe way for providing an education that shall meet the wants of the future and carry out the founder's idea of an institution where any person can find instruction in any study. I herewith commit this great trust to your care."
JULIANA BATISTA: Ezra Cornell at Cornell's inaugural exercises, October 7, 1868. "I hope we have laid the foundation of an institution which shall combine practical with liberal education, which shall fit the youth of our country for the professions, the farms, the mines, the manufactories for the investigations of science and for mastering all practical questions of life with success and honor."
RICHARD WALROTH: A letter from Andrew Dickson White to Garrett Smith, dated September 1, 1862. "There is needed a truly great university, first to secure a place where the most highly prized instruction may be afforded to all, regardless of sex or color. To afford an asylum for science where truth shall be sought for truth's sake. To afford a center and a school for a new literature, not graceful and indifferent to wrong, but earnest, nerved, and armed to battle for the right. To give a chance for instruction in moral philosophy, history, and political economy unwarped to suit present abuses in politics and religion. To secure the rudiments at least of a legal training in which legality shall not crush humanity."
CHARLES WALCOTT: And now, readings of the inaugural poems by Alice Fulton, the Ann S. Bowers, Professor of English, and our inaugural poet.
ALICE FULTON: I'm honored to read at the inauguration of Elizabeth Garrett, a distinguished educator and scholar with a profound understanding of community and social responsibility. It's heartening to be present when such a brilliant woman guides the future of Cornell, and marvelous to be part of an occasion that moves me so much. We're grateful for her commitment to the world's good, for the flexible mind and generous spirit she brings to us. In celebration of hope and possibility I'll read a poem that tries to define the thrill of beginnings, the beauty of incipience, the blank page.
Slate. "Neither pigeon, taupe, nor coal black, not a braille pen embossing points on bond, the entrance in a race, record of events, or gray scales meshed in roofs. Not to foreordain, but all of the above, the future scrubbed with fleshburn brush. Threshold unscented by event as yet, the premise, the blackboard's dense blank screen unreckoned rock complexion. The tablet unchalked with take and scene, opposite of has-been, antonym to fixed. The breadth of before. Before lessness links with hope, or mind, or flesh. When all is ful, able, and or as color, as galore as before words. The above, yes. And beyond measure unstinting sky, green fire of cornfields. The hominy husks clasping how many cells? The brain to say rich, new, if, and swim in possibility as it is and ever more shall be to fold to origami thought, look no shears or hands. The blizzard unabridged within the black dilated iris core and hold it, little pupil can, in mind, in utero, sculpt the is, the am.
You can hold your applause, please. Too hot to clap, right? President Garrett is deeply engaged with justice and the function of democratic institutions. As educators, our job is to question as well as create, and inspire, and impart knowledge. Yet what we already believe affects and sometimes constrains what we will believe or know. I'll read a poem on the construction of belief, the struggle to see fairly and inclusively, to see the background as well as the foreground. In that sense, this is a poem about justice. And it's a secular prayer. The poem is addressed to the second person, you, and this you could be some version of the absolute, or it could be the reader, or the listener. So the you could you.
As you know, Cornell was founded in 1865, the year that the 13th Amendment abolished slavery. Elizabeth Garrett is Cornell's 13th president and our first female president in 160 years. There's a moment in the poem that reflects upon those facts.
Shy One. Because faith creates its verification and reaching you will be no harder than believing in a planet's caul of plasma or interacting with a comet in its perihelion passage. No harder than considering what sparking of the vacuum, cosmological impromptu flung me here. Me, a subsidiary instance easier to grasp than the span I foreshadow, of which I am a variable. My stance is passional toward the universe and you. Because faith in facts can help create those facts the way electrons exist only when they're measured, or shy people stand alone at parties, attract no one, then go home to feel more shy, I begin by supposing our attrition's no quicker than a star's that, like electrons, vanishing on one side of a wall and appearing on the other without leaving any holes or being somewhere in between, the soul's decoupling is an oscillation so inward nothing outward as the eye can see it.
The childhood catechisms all had heaven, an excitation of mist. Grown I thought a vacancy awaited me. Now I find myself discarding and enlarging both those views, an infidel of amplitude. Because truths we don't suspect have a hard time making themselves felt. As when 13 species of whiptail lizards composed entirely of females stay undiscovered due to bias against such things existing, we have to meet the universe halfway. Nothing will unfold for us unless we move toward what looks to us like nothing. Faith is a cascade. The sky's high solid is anything but. The sun going under hasn't budged. And if death divests the self, it's the sole event in nature that's exactly what it seems. Because believing a thing's true can bring about that truth, and you might be the shy one, lizard, or electron, known only through advances presuming your existence. Let my glance be passional toward the universe and you.
Thank you. I'll close with a little poem in the form of a dialogue. And it's two voices that could belong to one mind advising itself, or the poem could be a call and response with the macrocosm. At the start of something rich with possibilities and complications it's natural to seek advice and role models. So when I was wanting to write a poem for the inauguration I thought, well what would the Dalai Lama do? Or what would the universe do? I thought it might be fun to ask that question. So there's some noise or slippage as the questioner tries to interpret the guidance that's offered because, like poetry, the cosmos tells all the truth, but tells it slant.
Inaugural This and That Q&A. It might help to think we live in the headwaters, that infinity comes in different sizes and its recombinant astonishment factor can be seen as sky. That even the planet wobbles as it spins, and water shakes whatever it reflects, that we do suffering very well. Just keep shell growth ahead of body size. Just be sensitive to perpetuals. Don't try to train the rainbow to stack its prism differently, or think you'll see the darkness by turning on the light. Does it help to think that things get heavier on burning when the smoke is weighed? Or that using two maps lets the heart of the matter drop through the cracks? The giver can't control the gift. It might help to think of silence as the sound of held applause. Thank you.
CHARLES WALCOTT: Thank you, Professor Fulton. President Garrett, we look forward to the adventure, the discovery, and the excitement of the journey that you have described. We welcome your leadership and promise our support and commitment throughout your tenure. Please rise and join the university glee club chorus and wind symphony for the singing of the alma mater. And please remain standing until the academic procession has passed. Following the precession, I invite everyone to join us for a community picnic on the Ag Quad, where we will have the global debut of the Cornell Dairy's new ice cream in honor of our new president, 24 Garrett Swirl.
Thank you very much for coming and for helping to welcome and inaugurate Elizabeth Garrett as Cornell University's 13th president.
CORNELL UNIVERSITY CHORUS: [SINGING] Far above Cayuga's waters with its waves of blue. Stands our noble alma mater, glorious to view. Lift the chorus, speed it onward. Loud her praises tell. Hail to thee, our alma mater. Hail, oh hail, Cornell. Far above the busy humming of the bustling town, reared against the arch of heaven, looks she proudly down. Lift the chorus, speed it onward. Loud her praises tell. Hail to thee, our alma mater. Hail, oh hail Cornell.
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Procession and installation ceremony inaugurating Elizabeth Garrett as the 13th president of Cornell University, September 18, 2015 on the Arts Quad.