HELENE: As an organization marking its 100 year anniversary, the story of Cornell Cooperative Extension is one of a movement that has played an important role in the lives of New Yorkers for a century. It is a history that is impressive and full of truly remarkable impacts across the state. An equally important part of our centennial observance is to look forward, and we are hosting these lectures as a way of reflecting upon the past and imagining an even brighter future.
100 years ago, in 1911, an idea was proposed that was the beginning of the Cornell Cooperative Extension system as we know it today. While extension work from our campus had been going on for some time, the concept of professional people in the field with strong ties to the colleges and strong credibility with local people was new. With the establishment of the first county agent, the idea that was proposed took root and has grown into what is arguably one of the most effective educational systems in the world.
This one great idea that has been supported by so many people, both on campus and in communities all over New York state, is that the application of science and scientific method to everyday problems can result in real and positive changes in the lives of New Yorkers. It is a powerful idea backed by the impressive resources of the land-grant colleges here at Cornell University.
For our very first lecture, we wanted to invite comments from the perspective of one of our most extensive partners, Cornell's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Dean Kathryn Boor has been a program participant, an extension staff member, a faculty member, and a researcher, as well as a department chair. She is just finishing her first year as the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
All of this experience gives her a unique perspective of our system as we look ahead, so we've asked Dean Boor to share with us today her thoughts under the title, "One Great Idea, the Importance of Science in Everyday Life." So please join me in welcoming the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Dean Kathryn Boor.
KATHRYN BOOR: Thank you, Helene, and it's wonderful to see all of you here today. Now I've intentionally kept my prepared remarks somewhat short this afternoon to allow plenty of time for us to interact and to have a conversation about this important subject. It is just so important that we take some time to reflect on the evolution of one great idea through the myriad of very thoughtfully constructed Cornell Cooperative Extension Centennial Celebration events this year, and I'm really deeply honored to have been invited to participate in this centennial lecture series.
We do have so very much to celebrate. Cornell University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Cornell Cooperative Extension have a shared history that is completely intertwined throughout the past century and a wonderful relationship that continues today. Our accomplishments over the past 100 years illustrate that what started as one great idea has continued to be so.
When science is applied to the situations that we encounter in everyday life, we have a framework from which to make observations and to implement changes that ultimately lead to novel solutions to improve human lives. When we are engaged as a society in the application of scientifically derived knowledge, that benefit is magnified.
My first goal today will be to highlight some of the accomplishments of Cornell Cooperative Extension over the past 100 years, and then to lay out some opportunities for its continued success over the next 100 years. Then, as the title of this lecture suggests, I will reflect upon the role of science in our everyday lives from the perspectives of a scientist, as an educator, and as a steward of Cornell's land-grant mission.
I'm going to start this section with a very prescient quote from a well-recognized and well-respected Cornellian. And the quote is, "When all the new lands have all been opened to cultivation, and when thousands of millions of human beings occupy the Earth, the demand for food will constitute a problem which we scarcely apprehend today. We shall then be obliged to develop self-sustaining methods of maintaining the producing power of land."
While these words sound like they were penned today, they were actually written exactly 100 years ago, in 1911, by the first dean of Cornell's College of Agriculture, Liberty Hyde Bailey. Bailey first came to Cornell in June of 1894 as a 36-year-old professor of horticulture. And that was when extension was still in its embryonic stages. Professor Bailey's vision of agricultural extension work was centered on providing education that was designed to awaken farmers to a new point of view of life by illustrating a passion for country life, but along with a scientific attitude and a scientific approach.
By the time Bailey was appointed dean of the college in 1903, state funding to support the burgeoning extension system had reached an annually recurring appropriation of-- anybody want to make a guess what the annually recurring appropriation for extension for the state was in 1903? Anybody? Guess?
KATHRYN BOOR: $45,000?
KATHRYN BOOR: 25. Somebody knows. It was. It was $25,000 to support extension in the state of New York in 1903. And at that time, and as with now, extension was embraced as a core part of Cornell University's education portfolio. Bailey did not view extension as an afterthought and certainly not as an add-on to the college's central mission, but rather as an embodiment of its larger public and civic mission.
Land-grant colleges of agriculture, in Bailey's view, contribute to the public welfare in a very broad way, extending their influence far beyond the technique of agricultural trades. He felt that such colleges should incorporate teaching research and extension of that work to all people. Their goal should be, "To set the pupil in relation with his environment and to fit him for the work of the world," and, "To reach every person on the land with both information and inspiration.
Bailey's inspiring words continue to inform the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences' guiding principles today. And our principles certainly could not be met without Cornell Cooperative Extension. Bailey's ideal of self-sustaining agriculture also continues to guide us today. In fact, in 2011, his vision seems more relevant than ever.
The thousands of millions of people that Bailey referred to in 1911 have reached 7 billion today, and those numbers are expected to grow to more than 9 billion within a few short decades. If we are to meet the fundamental human needs for food and energy for our growing global population in the context of limited natural resources, sustainable agricultural practices must be a central tenant of our evolving food and energy systems.
I am going to return to this concept a little bit later in the presentation. But for now, we'll still be looking back. Around the same time that Bailey was issuing his profound and prophetic statements about the future of sustainable agriculture, New York farmers were introduced to John H. Barron, who was the very first county extension agent in the United States.
Raised on a farm in Livingston County, right here in New York state, Barron graduated from Cornell University in 1906. Barron spent a few years teaching courses in Pennsylvania before returning to his farm and serving as a Farmers' Institute lecturer. Barron was hired in March 1911 by the Binghamton Chamber of Commerce Farm Bureau as an agricultural agent to conduct demonstrations and to advise farmers individually and in group settings about methods in crops, livestock, labor, and equipment.
Barron found himself in a role that combined his background and knowledge as a farmer with his passion for education. As a person, Barron was practical and personable, which made him popular among farmers, many of whom were understandably wary of educated outsiders who might be coming in to try to tell them what to do. Can you imagine that?
Barron later became an extension professor in agronomy at Cornell, and that was a position that he held for 30 years. Now while technologies have changed dramatically over the years, extension educators have proven that they are adept at adapting and at helping others to do so in that process. John Barron himself was quick to trade in his horse and buggy for a new Ford automobile.
Modern-day Cornell Cooperative Extension professionals are equally eager to incorporate new tools to engage their audiences. For example, Pete Smallidge, a Senior Extension Associate in the Department of Natural Resources and Director of the Arnot Teaching and Research Forest and the Cornell Maple Program, has embraced modern technology to help reach 57,000 individuals who manage 3.3 million acres of forest. And he provides them with up-to-date information on topics that range from invasive pests to taxes and income generation.
In our state, which has 65% forest cover, sustainable forest management is critical. Most of our forests belong to private landowners, and it is very challenging to reach such large and diverse audiences by traditional means. So Pete has supplemented his extensive fact sheet and workshop educational efforts with ForestConnect, an interactive internet-based program of webcasts and forums which regularly reach large audiences each and every month.
He also leads a Master Forest Owner program which has trained more than 140 motivated volunteers in forest economics, ecology, timber, and wildlife management, so that they can assist other landowners in managing their own forests.
Pete's work not only illustrates some of the novel ways extension professionals are educating their audiences, but also provides great examples of approaches for effective audience engagement. Enlisting individuals in efforts that will enhance their lives and their communities is a vital function of Cornell Cooperative Extension. In addition to master foresters, there are master gardeners, master composters, master naturalists, and master watershed stewards.
We also direct to multiple Citizen Science programs, which enable anyone from ages 6 to 106 to participate in scientific efforts and to contribute in a significant way to ongoing research. The Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology is a world leader in pioneering projects such as NestWatch, CamClicker, and the Great Backyard Bird Count.
Project Bud Break, led by Natural Resources Senior Extension associate David Weinstein, relies on plant flowering observations submitted by people like you and me to formulate big-picture data that will contribute to our ability to help track climate change.
And then there is the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug project. This is a project that is led by Cornell Cooperative Extension agents in the Hudson Valley, and in this project, residents are being asked to send stink bug specimens to the Cornell Hudson Valley laboratory so that they can help to track the movements of this invasive pest as they make their way into the state.
And the Albany County 4-H office is presently enlisting children into literally an army of lookouts for wasps that feed on the invasive emerald ash borer as part of a larger statewide project with Cornell and Cornell Cooperative Extension to track the movement of this borer pest.
As these examples illustrate, in addition to being a critical avenue for application of research that is conducted in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cornell Cooperative Extension also plays a very important role in informing the college's research. In many cases, as I've described, Extension provides the entry point to allow citizens to contribute directly to discovery. In other cases, Cornell Cooperative Extension professionals are conduits back to campus, informing campus-based research that is developing solutions to real-world problems.
Of course, to be responsive to emerging needs while remaining committed to fundamental research and to core programs, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences needs to have some flexibility that's built into our funding model. To respond quickly to local issues, Cornell Cooperative Extension needs to be able to identify and provide local experts to address local problems.
All of these capabilities have become increasingly challenging in recent years due to fickle funding from county, state, and federal sources. However, we have been careful to keep our programs aligned with many of the federal funding priority areas. And here you will see these priority areas outlined by the US Department of Agriculture's National Institute for Food and Agriculture. The areas that you see on the slide are areas in which we excel. And these areas include food safety, food security, and hunger amelioration, climate change, sustainable energy, and prevention of childhood obesity.
While the funding climate for agricultural research and programming is challenging, we must continue to develop and support true local, state, and federal partnerships in these important focal areas to enable us to continue to deliver outstanding research and educational programs for the next century.
Governor Cuomo has recently revealed plans to tackle food security and nutrition at the state level, and some of his initiatives are shown on this slide. And Christine Quinn has also proposed parallel strategies for New York City. Cornell Cooperative Extension is perfectly poised to help implement the programs developed by our state, regional, and city leaders. And the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is also ready to lend its expertise to these efforts.
As we look ahead, we must find ways to embrace opportunities and to ensure economic sustainability. In doing so, we are guided by our college's social obligations of developing and delivering knowledge with a public purpose. In our present economic climate, it's tempting to reduce our thinking strictly to those of dollars and cents job creation and job retention. But we must also consider that which cannot be so easily measured. For example, issues surrounding safety, quality, and sustainability.
As I mentioned previously, global population projections are estimated to exceed 9 billion people, and that is a 30% increase by the year 2050. In parallel, despite our current sluggish economy, experts predict real income per capita to grow worldwide by 98% within that same time frame. Historically, when we see growth in both population and an increase in income, we also see increased demand around the globe for high-valued foods, including fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats.
Increased demand for animal-derived products consequently drives increased need for animal feed. These demands will take place in the context of limitations of arable land and fresh water, as well as in the context of increased variability in local weather conditions. Meanwhile, despite great successes in producing ever-increasing supplies of food and other products, US agriculture is simultaneously under fire for contributing negatively to production of greenhouse gases, loss of biodiversity, and other environmental concerns.
In short, considerable pressure exists for American agricultural technologies to evolve to further enhance production capacity while minimizing negative impacts on the environment. Developing policies, strategies, and technologies to improve the health and the well-being of current citizens, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, is among the greatest challenges facing humankind today.
These needs broadly capture the concept of sustainability. Sustainability is a broad goal that underpins our long-term public purpose in agriculture. However, to be sustainable, future agricultural systems must also accomplish the following. Farming must remain financially viable, and it must contribute to the well-being of farmers, farm workers, and rural communities, while providing safe, abundant, and affordable food, fiber, fuel, and feed.
To achieve these critical goals, our society must invest in research in innovative agricultural and social practices. I make this plea at a time when public investments in agricultural research are declining at all levels. Agricultural research and development are expensive. It can take several years before the full impact of research is realized, and benefits from any given research program do not last forever.
But benefits from applied agricultural research can be significant and can be measured in real dollars. For example, Julian Alston, an economist at the University of California Davis, reported that every dollar spent on public agricultural research and extension returns $32 to society.
To approach the sweeping transformative changes that will be essential to achieving truly sustainable food and agricultural systems, we must reinvest in publicly funded agricultural research, and we must reorient the national research portfolio to include consideration of sustainability issues.
Public support is essential, as research underpinning agricultural sustainability is less likely to yield marketable inventions for private agribusiness than research that is predominantly focused on productivity and efficiency. Many of the solutions needed to achieve sustainable societies lie at the nexus of four focal areas, and these include food and energy systems, the life sciences, environmental sciences, and what I've called applied social sciences, but really reflecting community and economic vitality.
Hence, emerging solutions to the complex issues of feeding and fueling a growing population will lie in transformative decision-making across our society regarding the relative value of investing in sustainable agricultural systems. We must continue to educate and engage the community to promote that one great idea concept pursued by Bailey, by Barron, and countless others throughout Cornell Cooperative Extension's 100 year history. That great idea is turned into reality each and every day through the realization and the implementation of science in our everyday lives.
So I'm going to switch gears here now to a little more personal perspective as a food scientist and with a focus, a career focus on food safety issues. I see that need to apply science to our food supply to ensure that we can protect the public from food-borne illnesses. The recent deadly E. coli outbreaks in Europe have certainly underscored the importance of being able to identify and to track the origin of food contamination events and to remove dangerous products from the food supply in a timely manner.
I'm really happy to say there are many members from my lab here today, and it's nice to see you, see you all here. And my own, our research here at Cornell, has focused on identifying and controlling factors that enable bacteria to be transmitted through food systems. Much of our focus has been on keeping bacterial spoilers out of dairy food products and on developing tools and approaches for tracking the movement of dangerous microbes throughout food systems, primarily focusing on the bacterium listeria monocytogenes.
Other team members across the entire campus contribute at different points throughout our food system. Senior Extension associate Betsy Bihn, for example, instructs growers and packers about the best on-farm food safety practices through the Good Agricultural Practices program. And certainly out in the counties, many Cornell Cooperative Extension associations take scientifically based food safety messages directly to consumers through hygiene and food preparation classes.
My own relationship with Cornell Cooperative Extension goes back to my childhood. I grew up on a dairy farm not far from here in Horseheads, New York. And my family has been and continues to be active in Chemung County Cooperative Extension. In fact, it was 4-H that first brought me here to Cornell through what was then known as 4-H Club Congress, which has now evolved into the present career explorations program.
And it's impossible not to notice that that three-day event kicked off here on campus today, and this is really the good stuff to see that energy and enthusiasm that those 4-H-ers bring to our campus. It truly thrills me to see so many young people here on campus who are so excited to learn about careers in science.
Today our citizens have diverse relationships with Cornell Cooperative Extension. It means so many different things to so many different people. Farmers still benefit from learning about the latest plant varieties, insect resistance, organic tilling practices, or marketing strategies. As exploration of gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale dominates headlines, Cornell Cooperative Extension has responded by providing impartial information online and in the community in sessions designed to educate the public about this polarizing and increasingly political issue.
Gardeners can get their soil tested, access a treasure trove of horticulture fact sheets, and tap into an extensive online peer network to find out what plants are best suited to the conditions in their own backyard. City dwellers can get help sourcing healthy, fresh food through farmers markets or by growing their own on rooftops or in community gardens. Parents across the state can learn to cook with their young children and communicate more effectively with their older children through a variety of nutrition classes and parenting workshops.
Senior citizens can learn how to eat smarter and live better through a program by Cornell Cooperative Extension educators in Columbia County. Homeowners can learn how to save money and the environment by increasing energy efficiency and switching to alternative fuels, which are being investigated by the Cornell Cooperative Extension energy team in collaboration with CALS researchers.
Civic leaders can come together to discuss the viability and the vitality of their communities based on data collected by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences through workshops and events like the recent State of Upstate New York conference. Military families can receive support and participate in positive community building activities through the Strong Families, Strong Soldiers program.
Here on campus in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, we are committed to ensuring that the next generation of farmers is well prepared to face the unique challenges awaiting them. And not only as agriculturalists, but as business owners and as environmental stewards. We approach these challenges by offering a wide range of courses across disciplines, from animal science to applied economics, from ecology to communication. Our very best faculty understand that they learn as much from their students as they are teaching them.
We are at the leading edge of using technology to help influence every aspect of our modern-day lives. For example, some of our professors are exploring ways in which social media can be used to promote active lifestyles or energy conservation. Others are sending plant disease warnings to farmers via text messages. As the highly successful FarmNet program has proven, however, we must be creative when it comes to positioning ourselves in today's economic climate.
For many farmers, this means transitioning from a traditional farm to a value-added or niche market commodity farm. As a young farmer said to me recently, change is the new normal. We should heed his wise words and model our own behavior and decisions accordingly and look at challenges and change as opportunities to do things in new and better ways.
In 2011, Cornell Cooperative Extension continues to deliver on Liberty Hyde Bailey's mission to reach every person on the land with both information and inspiration, and we do so in creative new ways every day. I am confident we will continue to do so over the next 100 years by working hand-in-hand with scientists in Cornell's labs and side-by-side with New York state residents in communities across the entire state.
Cornell Cooperative Extension will deliver solutions to society's most pressing problems well into the future. The opportunities are immense, and I am excited to imagine those opportunities being realized through continued collaboration between Cornell Cooperative Extension and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. I congratulate you for reaching this milestone, and I wish that our children's grandchildren will celebrate this next major milestone with similar great pride and joy. Thank you.
So we have plenty of time for conversation, and I'd be happy to take any questions that you may have. Or comments. I should have put somebody out in the crowd, I can see.
AUDIENCE: You had a website. Where's it at? How do you get to the websites?
KATHRYN BOOR: How do you get to the websites? So if you start with a search for cornell.edu and you do forest watch in the search bar, that one will pop up. Anything else? Dennis.
AUDIENCE: You mentioned FoodWorks in New York state as an initiative by the New York City Council. I'm wondering how can we at Cornell get more engaged with that concept or ideal, or how can we help them do what they're trying to do, which I think is to increase the sale and distribution of New York state agricultural products?
KATHRYN BOOR: So the point that Dennis Miller is mentioning is FoodWorks, which is a very ambitious effort by the city of New York to increase the ability of New York City to have access to fresh fruits and vegetables predominantly and to come up with cost effective, affordable strategies, particularly for providing food of that nature to what they call food deserts, which are places within the city where there are not grocery stores and outlets for fresh food within reasonable walking distance for those who live around those areas.
And so those are really the predominant topics that are raised by FoodWorks, and this was developed by the City Council in New York City, so that gives you a sense of how very seriously New York City is taking this initiative. I visited with the City Council recently to ask them precisely-- or actually to suggest to them many ways in which Cornell could become involved in this particular initiative. And one of the topics that caught their interest right away that they need help with is in modeling the movement of food, so transportation issues and economics of food into New York City and out and so forth.
And in fact, they're developing an RFP, a request for proposals, for that kind of work, and that should be coming out soon. I'm in contact with them regularly. Certainly our Cornell Cooperative Extension in the city is in contact with them regularly. And so we we'll be learning about opportunities and disseminating those strategies as we move along. Helene.
HELENE: Earlier today, the executive director asked me what we are doing to try to influence decisions on budgets in Washington, and what are we doing to try to get some money restored back into [? MEPA. ?] I just wondering if you could comment on what you hear at the university level and at the APLU and other places on how we're trying to restore funds, and if not, what are we going to try to do to stay intact while these budget cuts come.
KATHRYN BOOR: So Helene's question is in reference to some of the comments that I made about declining budgets for agricultural work in Extension that we're seeing at-- well, she's talking about the federal level in this particular conversation. And we're working at multiple different levels to try to bring funding back into these areas, and in fact, to argue, as I mentioned in my presentation, about in fact an increased need for public investment in these critical areas that will be so important. They're important now, but they're going to be even more important 10, 20 years from now.
And so we're working at the level of Cornell University as an entity. We're working at the level of a consortium of universities in sending a message back to Washington about these critical needs. So those are the main levels. And then, of course, at the individual level, by sending messages to those who are our elected officials in Washington, D.C.
So we have orchestrated and organized efforts that happen at the level of consortia of other land-grant universities and development of messages and letters and so forth that go to our elected officials that we work on jointly together and we submit to Washington, D.C. Certainly at the Cornell University level, we have an office in Washington, D.C. that keeps us closely tied into what's happening in Washington and helps to provide us with opportunities to have a chance to speak up when we see threats as they arise. And at the personal level, also sending in letters to our elected officials to discuss the importance of the work that we're doing in terms of looking toward the future.
AUDIENCE: Hi, Andy Turner. I'm the executive director in Columbia and Greene Counties. [INAUDIBLE] My question is I really appreciate your optimistic message looking back and then projecting forward. It's inspirational. I tend to be optimistic too, but I have a different question that's not as optimistic. Can we talk about our role as educators and through all the science in our communities and the decision making, we look back into the history of the United States, and we see some of that in the very beginning, some of the, I think, ideas that led to cooperative extension in the very beginning from our founders.
I think it was Thomas Jefferson who was [INAUDIBLE] writing. I look out there now and I see, although optimistic, I see elected officials who really seem to have a very low, oftentimes, level of scientific literacy. It's also out in the communities, and in our general population, we still have statistics coming out about the number of folks who are trusting the science of climate change. And those are big challenges for educators to figure out how to move some of these things forward.
How did we end up here, and what can we do as educators to increase those levels of scientific literacy so we can maybe move our programs forward more effectively in the next 10 or 20 years?
KATHRYN BOOR: OK, so there's a short-run answer that I'm going to give you, and then I'm going to tell you personal philosophy about the longer run. So I'll take my dean hat off for a moment when I get to that part. So the short-run answer to that is, one thing that I've learned in the last 362 days or so in this position is who really makes decisions in Washington and Albany, and those are 22-year-olds who are the staffers who support our elected officials.
And I kid you not, the importance and the role of those people in terms of guiding the information that goes to those elected officials, we have an opportunity not only in terms of how well we educate these particular people who have an inclination to go in that direction, but we also have an opportunity-- they're very bright and they're hungry. They want information and they want to do the right thing, and they want to make a mark on society.
And so by investing some time and some effort in working with the staffers of our elected officials, you can have influence. And they're looking for your help and your guidance. And please don't overlook the importance in the opportunity that's provided by that. And that's the short-run answer. That's said as dean.
The next part, I'm taking off the dean hat and I'm saying, for those of you who are looking in your hometown, and you're looking at your educational systems around there, support them. It is all about K through 12 education. And it's all about not turning kids off to science when they're little. We need to teach science differently. We need to teach science so that the kids understand that it's not about memorizing factoids and regurgitating them on an exam or a check-off box or a fill-in-the-blank.
Science is about asking questions and about seeing if you can answer your own questions based on your observations and the information that you can put together. We need to teach our children to think critically. And if you can teach your children to think critically, they're scientists. That's what it's going to take.
AUDIENCE: So the future of extension will also depend on having a faculty base that comes along and is supported in extension and has a future with extension effort, and it's getting very competitive with the Ivy Leagues and different kinds of pressures that come on young faculty to write and get grants. So how do you see us supporting that effort so that they have a legitimate shot at not only making it as long-run faculty, but having extension effort?
KATHRYN BOOR: So the issues you raise are real tensions. Absolutely. And the question really is, what is the-- can I rephrase it, and tell me if I got it right. What is the long-term future for faculty-based extension programming on a land-grant institution, but let's be more specific, a land-grant institution that is embedded in an Ivy League context. Shall we be that specific? OK. And so that's the question, is how will we continue to meet that public mission of ensuring that we're providing information that is actually reaching the counties and reaching the citizens of the state?
And so we are embarking on an effort to get each of our departments, each of our schools, each of our programs to think very strategically about what their needs are within their departments, and I hope those needs will include also that part of that public mission. And when the positions go in, they have to balance their needs for undergraduate and graduate teaching and research, and that part of the public expectation. It is not easy, and I will tell you that flat out. It is not easy.
But this is an ongoing dialogue. This is something to which we're committed, but we do always have to think about ensuring that with each new precious faculty position that we put out there and that we fill, that that person will be successful. And so we have to think about that in the context, too, that we devise these position descriptions for people who will have the opportunity to get external resources to support their research programs or their extension programs and who will be able to provide that cutting-edge education that we need so much.
So I didn't tell you so much of how-to. I told you that I'm committed to it. And what I also told you is that this is a work in progress in terms of the communications that we need to have with our departments.
AUDIENCE: Good afternoon [INAUDIBLE]. Last Friday, Senator Gillibrand brought her entourage of 22-year-old staffers who actually looked younger than that as part of her agricultural Listening Tour. And I invited her to come out to the Long Island Horticultural Research Center to get firsthand testimonials from growers who owe their livelihoods to the practical application of [INAUDIBLE] extension [INAUDIBLE]. But my question to you is, has she brought her entourage here on campus to listen to your--
KATHRYN BOOR: I have got them there to Washington. I don't know if I've seen-- she's been here, but I haven't personally seen her since she's been here. But she has been on campus. But when I need to, I go to Washington. And actually, I'm on email and phone with-- I know her people by name-- with them when they have a food safety question and other issues like that.
AUDIENCE: Hi. [INAUDIBLE] It's good to see you again. Thank you for coming down to [INAUDIBLE] County and sharing your talk with us at our [INAUDIBLE] meeting last year. I'm just interested, after a year of being dean, what have you learned?
KATHRYN BOOR: Boy, where do I start on that one, Andy? So what have I learned in my year as dean? I have learned that, I think, probably the most simple but yet most profound thing is that I've had a relationship with this college since 1976. That's a long time. Actually, before that. I think it was 1972 when I came here with 4-H Club Congress. That's a long time, almost 40 years. And from each different perspective, from perspective of student, I was staff for a while, then brand-new professor, then department chair.
Thought I knew this place. No. What I've learned, the most profound, yet the most simple thing that I've learned is wonder around every single corner, behind every single door in this place. The wonderful thing is that our faculty, staff, and students do, and yet are so humble about doing. The value that this operation, all of it, Extension and this college, bring to the state is just phenomenal and truly humbling for me. And so that is one of the things that I've learned.
I've also learned-- now this is more personal. I am by nature a huge introvert. And if given a chance, I'll go out there by myself with a book. And that's really what I like to do best is kind of sit there by myself. And what I've learned about this situation is that Cornellians in general, our alums, our staff, our students, are such interesting person, that I forget to be an introvert. And it's fun to get out there and to talk with people who are so excited about what they're doing and are so passionate about their experience with Cornell and about their career in life.
And I had no idea I was going to think that was as much fun as it is. And that's really fun. So that was the second big observation. The third observation is also pretty obvious, but I don't think you can fully appreciate it. It kind of goes along with the first observation. This is an enormous enterprise. And so I'm still really wrapping my arms around what that means. So those are the three big ones.
Well, I thank you very much for your attention.
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The "One Great Idea" that launched the Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) system 100 years ago was visionary at the time and remains so today, but must be supported so it can continue to deliver its vision well into the future, says Kathryn Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
Boor delivered the first CCE Centennial Lecture on June 28, 2011. She spoke about the importance of science in everyday life and CCE's role in engaging people of all ages in its application.