In His Own Words

Quotes by Frank H.T. Rhodes

We have had enough of global despair. This is a time for renewal. It is a time for hope. It is a time of new commitment. It is because I share those hopes, because I believe in these great ends, being assured in the possibility that if we pursue them faithfully we may make progress and achieve them – believing that Cornell has a future destiny far greater even than her great past – that I gladly accept the charge that you have given to me, and I pledge myself to serve you and Cornell with all my heart and with all my strength. — from his November 1977 inaugural speech at Cornell
The task of the college president, reduced to its essentials is to define and articulate the mission of the institution; develop meaningful goals; and then recruit the talent, build the consensus, create the climate, and provide the resources to achieve them. All else is peripheral. — from Rhodes’ 1998 article, “The Art of the Presidency” in the American Council on Education’s journal “The Presidency”
The college presidency is one of the most influential of all positions because the future leaders of the world sit in our classrooms. … The academic presidency also is one of the most important of all positions because it is chiefly on the campus that knowledge – the foundation of the future – is created. — from Rhodes’ 1998 article, “The Art of the Presidency” in the American Council on Education’s journal “The Presidency”
Does this mean that Cornell now places less emphasis on matters of local concern? No, as the state’s land-grant university, we feel keenly our responsibilities to serve those close to home as well as those farther afield. But it does reflect the new reality – that the successful universities of the 21st century will be those that look outward as well as inward, for – ready or not, like it or not – all of us are linked to the rest of the world. — from his winter “President’s Corner” message to alumni in a special publication, “Cornell ’94,” on the global university
The satisfaction in life comes from spending oneself for a purpose. It is the function of the liberal arts and the business of the faculty – in professional schools no less than in colleges of arts and sciences – to create a spirit of learning that will challenge students to recognize that satisfaction and assist them in identifying their own particular purpose. — in a “Point of View” published in the Chronicle of Higher Education, May 1985.
I really do believe in the capacity of humans to adapt. We’re an incredibly creative species; that’s how we've managed to inflict so much damage on every other species. — from an issue of Ezra magazine about his book, “Earth: A Tenant’s Manual.