ROBERT HARRISON: Morning everyone, and welcome back to campus. It has been way too long. All of you look absolutely fabulous in person and full size. It is just great to be here with all of you. This is a very special TCAM meeting including not only the University Council and the Board of Trustees, but this year we have PCCW members, class officers, college volunteers, regional club volunteers, and Cornell alumni admissions ambassadors. All in, there are around 900 volunteers and guests here today in person and online.
Welcome back to Cornell, everyone. As many of you know or may know, my term as chairman of the board ends on June 30, and the board has elected my successor, Craig Kaiser, to begin a three year term on July 1. Since many of you have not yet met him, let me introduce the next chairman of the Board of Trustees.
Craig received an MBA in finance from Cornell Johnson Graduate School of Management in 1984 and served for 27 years as CEO of upstate New York based Seneca Foods Corporation, which is the largest processor of fruits and vegetables on the continent. He is currently chairman of Seneca's Board of Directors practicing for his new job as chairman at Cornell.
Craig has served as a trustee for nine years and is currently chairman of the Executive Committee. He is a great listener extremely patient, thoughtful, deliberative and balanced. While I aspire to all of those traits someday, Craig experiences them and lives them very naturally. Craig, please stand up and be recognized by this incredible group of Cornellians.
I would also like to welcome our two new alumni elected trustees who will begin their terms on July 1. Dr. Deborah Arrindell graduated in 1979 from CALS, and then earned an M.D. and master's in public health from the Yale School of Medicine. She then pursued her residency and fellowship at Johns Hopkins, and after practicing medicine for several years, decided to add a JD to her resume-- Why not-- at the University of Maryland School of Law.
Since then, Deborah has been active in the biopharmaceutical industry and is currently vice president at Global Blood Therapeutics, whose mission is to provide a cure for patients living with sickle cell anemia. At Cornell, Deborah is a member of CALS, the advisory council, PCCW, co-chair of Cornell Mosaics Programming Committee, and the chair of the Cornell Alumni Admissions Ambassador Network. She received a Cal's Outstanding Alumni Award in 2021. Welcome to the board, Deborah, and please stand up.
What's your next degree, Deborah?
Kimberly Dowdell, class of 2006, is a graduate of the School of Architecture, Art, and Planning, and later earned a master of public administration at the Kennedy School. She is currently an architect in the Chicago studio of global design firm HOK, where she focuses on sustainability, diversity, and improving the quality of life for people living in cities through design.
Professionally, Kim is a past president of the National Organization of Minority Architects, and the recipient of both a Young Architects Award by the American Institute of Architects and a Women in Architecture Award by Architectural Record.
At Cornell, Kim has been an active member of the Cornell University Council, PCCW, and the Cornell Alumni Admissions Ambassador Network, as well as serving as on AAP's committee on diversity, and as a member of the Cornell Black Alumni Association.
Welcome to the board, Kim. We look forward to seeing you in person at the next meeting. And for the record, I am completely blown away by the extraordinary accomplishments of our incoming alumni elected trustees. The University will be very, very fortunate.
The University will be very, very fortunate to have them help create Cornell's future.
As I'm sure you can appreciate, this is a bittersweet occasion for me, as it is my last joint TCAM meeting as chairman of the board. I can say without hesitation or reservation that these past 10 years as chairman and the 10 years of board service before that have been the greatest privilege and most personally fulfilling chapter of my life, aside, of course from getting married and helping raise three daughters. I need to be careful here as my wife and three daughters are watching this on live stream.
I'd like to take advantage of my last time at this podium to leave you with a few thoughts about the University. I don't think any of this will surprise you.
I recently attended a book party hosted by Cornell Tech council member Mike Bloomberg in honor of Dr. Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, who wrote Moonshot, behind the scenes story of how Pfizer created the first COVID-19 vaccine in an unprecedented nine months time.
Bourla, who is Greek, begins each chapter with a quote from a famous Greek philosopher. Chapter 3, which is titled Thinking Big Makes the Impossible Possible features this quote from Aristotle. "Our problem is not that we aim too high and miss, but that we aim too low and hit." That quote immediately made me think of Cornell, and not because we aim too low.
Since its beginning in 1865, Cornell has consistently aimed high. I have been awed by how high our founders aimed when they decided to create for the first time in history a radically Democratic anti-elitist institution where any person can find instruction in any study and one that espouses an overt public mission.
Access, diversity, breadth and engagement were not features of universities before Cornell. That's why educational historian Frederick Rudolf described Cornell as the first American University. Aiming high has been in our DNA since day one.
We also aimed high when we entered the competition, that same Mike Bloomberg, then New York City's mayor, launched 10 years ago to build an applied sciences campus in New York City. 26 other universities from around the world entered that competition, recognizing how potentially transformational this might be for Cornell.
We decided to dedicate the faculty and administrative resources the project deserved and we envisioned a future campus that blew away the competition. With phase one of Cornell now complete, we have built some of the most environmentally friendly and energy efficient buildings in the world on Roosevelt Island, and we created the second most valuable startup ecosystem in the world. And it's only 10 years old.
Our other campus in New York City, Weill Cornell Medicine, shares the same DNA. The faculty there had for many years been among the leading doctors in the city for clinical care, but there was a desire to become a world class research enterprise as well.
In the depths of the financial crisis, the University agreed to invest $1 billion to build the Belfer Research Building and recruit into it the most talented academic medical investigators we could find. This was a huge bet on the future at an uncertain time in our economy.
As a result of aiming that high, Weill Cornell has become a magnet for leading researchers, and our research funding from the National Institutes of Health has more than doubled in an environment that has seen flat or even declining investment in medical research. With the final floor of Belfer scheduled for completion next year and quite a few faculty still in the startup phase, the impact of Belfer is likely to be a three-fold increase in NIH dollars at Weill Cornell Medicine.
In Ithaca, Cornell had the audacity to aim as high and as far as Mars. We became the leader of NASA's Mars Rover Exploration Program and built the rovers spirit and opportunity that miraculously roamed the planet for six years in the case of spirit and 14 and 1/2 years in the case of opportunity, despite the fact that both were designed to last just 90 days. As a result, Cornell faculty and students have completely rewritten the history of the Big Red planet.
Now we are aiming too high yet again, although this time the heights are actually far below us. This is one of my favorite current Cornell initiatives, among many, because it is reminiscent of the audacity of the Mars rovers or the Belfer Research Building or Cornell Tech. It is called Earth source heat. If successful, it will provide heat to the entire campus on a sustainable basis without using fossil fuels at all. The idea grossly oversimplified is to use heat stored in the Earth's crust accessed by a borehole that we will drill to extract hot water that will heat the campus. The potential for this clean technology to heat New York state and beyond is mind boggling.
Aiming too high and frequently not missing defines Cornell for me. It is reason number one I love this place. And we start drilling on May 22.
The second point I would like to leave you with is the singular importance of our presidents. Selecting the right president is the most important job of the Board of Trustees. It is not just mission critical. It is existential.
I have had the privilege of serving on presidential search committees since 2005, and working with five presidents during my tenure as chair. We have had the great fortune of selecting extraordinary individuals to fill the role. Getting to know them and work with them for the greater good of Cornell has been one of the most rewarding parts of my experience on the Board.
David Skorton, a cardiologist, jazz floutest, and deeply caring educator was committed to improving the student experience. He reimagined Cornell Health, grappled with the realities of hazing and suicide on campus, and increased financial aid significantly to attenuate the impact of the great financial crisis on our students and their families.
Beth Garrett was a brilliant legal scholar destined for greatness, who received a devastating cancer diagnosis early in her presidency. Regardless, she worked a full schedule, travel constantly, and to the very end maintained on our weekly calls that she would beat this illness. During the all too short eight months of her presidency, she tapped into that optimism to remain fully committed to the University's future, even summoning the fortitude to advance the controversial creation of the College of Business because she believed it was the right thing to do for Cornell.
Mike Kotlikoff, who had only been provost for a short time under Beth Garrett, assumed the role of acting president when we had no real alternative. He and I became very close during that difficult tragic time speaking almost daily. I can tell you that he did a remarkable job juggling two intensely demanding roles simultaneously, a completely unsustainable situation.
Fortunately, Hunter Rawlings agreed to my request that he come back for an unprecedented third term while we conducted the search for our 14th president. He and Elizabeth deserve the University's everlasting gratitude for their leadership, loyalty, and service.
And then we found Martha Pollack. She has become a great friend and confidante to me, personally, but also the leader we needed during a worldwide pandemic. Among all the other challenges and pressures she would face, COVID-19 was one she hadn't signed up for. But it's no surprise to me that Cornell became nationally acclaimed for how we tackled it, got students back on campus safely, with continued instruction following the science every step of the way. I couldn't be more proud of how President Pollack and Provost Kotlikoff, both scientists themselves, led us through the past two years.
When I was first elected chairman in 2011, I read an article by a consulting firm that metaphorically described the ideal relationship between the chair and the president as a pair of chopsticks. At the time, it sounded like something Forrest Gump might say.
And it still does. But the point is that each is far more effective with the support of the other, and far less mess is likely to end up in our laps if we coordinate.
Each of our last five presidents has been extremely supportive of me and respectful of the entire Board of Trustees, and I am deeply grateful for that. I have tried my best to reciprocate.
In closing, I'm reminded of a comment made by then chairman Harold Tanner when I was first elected to the board two decades ago. He told me that joining the board would feel like becoming a member of another family, a big Cornell family. He was 100% correct. I have gotten to know so many of you trustees and counselors, administrators, faculty, students, and alumni from many different decades and a wide range of geographies. And I have developed tremendous affection for you and admiration for your commitment to this extraordinary institution.
I look forward to celebrating a few more Cornell events with many of you before my chairmanship concludes at the end of June. Thank you so much for your support and for everything you do for Cornell.
Thank you. Thank you.
Come on. We've got a busy schedule today.
Now it is my pleasure to introduce the chair of the Cornell University Council John Kuo. John is a graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences, class of 1985. He has been a fantastic volunteer on the Council, Mosaic, and the Cornell Asian Alumni Association, as well as the leader of the Regional Tower Club in California. Please join me in welcoming John to the podium.
JOHN KUO: Thank you, Mr Chairman, and hats off to your terrific tenure as chair of the Board of Trustees. Thank you very much for your service.
President Pollack, council members, trustees, alumni, parents and staff, I welcome you to the 71st annual meeting of the Board of Trustees and Cornell University Council. And it is my great pleasure to welcome you back to campus. I can't tell you how thrilled I am that we're all back here, and I'm reveling in the fellowship that we've been having over the last two or three days and enjoying the energy that we've been feeling as we meet and greet each other and give each other hugs, which has been great.
Although my term as chair of council is coming to an end soon, and this is the first time that I'm addressing you in person, it really is a testament to the long two years that we've been apart and the challenges that we've had. But despite all that, the council has been working hard. We've been achieving, we've been striving, and we've been having our successes. Our committees have been working hard.
Many of you on council have rolled up your sleeve, joined a committee or two. You've been offering your wisdom, your talents, your time. Despite all the challenges of the pandemic, you've helped guide the work of the committees. You've helped guide the work of council to the successes of our four vectors. You're resilient and you're leaders of leaders, and applaud all of you for all the work you've done and all the work that you do for Cornell. So let's give ourselves an applause here.
So the four vectors you've heard me talk about them before, but they've been the basis of my chairmanship over the past two years. And the four vectors fit actually very nicely with our campaign to do the greatest good. Doing the greatest good for the University actually is what council is all about, and we are leaders here. We lead by example.
The first vector, being a strategic partner to the Board of Trustees and alumni affairs and development, is part of the founding principles of council when we were founded and chartered by the Board of Trustees back in the 1950s. And we as council have taken up the call to action to help out with the campaign by partnering both to increase engagement with the University as well as working peer to peer to encourage our fellow alumni to give and give generously to the University.
We've also been working closely with our three trustee representatives on the alumni board. And we continue to ask, what can we do for the University and answering the call for that work?
The second vector, which is engagement, this is where council really shines, and this is at the core of council's mission. Not only have we been engaging more with our council members, but we are and we have to continue to be the catalyst for increased engagement with our fellow volunteer organizations and alumni.
Despite the challenges of the pandemic, we found new ways to connect, to engage, and to keep each other informed. We've launched a quarterly council newsletter. We've held town hall meetings. We've also had virtual happy hours, which I think many of us enjoyed.
Sorry about this. It's tough to go old school with notes here. Even though we didn't have a in-person TCAM camp, we had a virtual TCAM last year, and over 600 of us participated in that virtual TCAM, which is either record or close to a record. And as I mentioned before, our committees have been very active, have been very busy, and we've had more committee participation than we've ever had before in the past.
Our mentoring committee has been doing some great outreach to incoming members, to off boarding members, to connecting with students over the CV links platform, as well as promulgating some terrific online programming. Our ambassador committee has been working tirelessly and executing on thinking about how we reach out to our volunteer brethren in other communities, brothers and sisters in the volunteer communities and alumni, and equipping them with the information and tools that they need to be successful.
And we've also been working with Joe Molina and his staff on the Cornell Efficacy Program. Now, this is a terrific program for advocating for higher education in DC. And so I encourage each and every one of you to continue connecting with other alumni, to connecting with students and parents, and to continue advocating on behalf of higher education.
And the final fourth vector is diversity, equity, and inclusion-- I'm sorry. Before I shift to fourth, the third vector is participation giving. I'm sorry, I can't count. The third vector is participation giving, and this is where I'm also proud to say that council is leading as we close in on our target of 100% participation. Council is leading. Council is role modeling and educating our alumni, our fellow Cornellians and the importance of giving back to the University.
No matter what the size of the gift is, it's important to give. And I thank all of you who have given to the University so far this year, and I encourage those who have not to please do give.
And now the fourth vector, which is diversity, equity, inclusion. Now, this is an area that I'm very proud of what we've been doing as council here. We only started this initiative less than two years ago and already we've been partnering with PCCW. We've been partnering with Mosaic to offer very thought-provoking programming here and having outstanding speakers come talk to us about the subject. We're also examining ourselves internally and understanding as council who we are and what our sense of belonging and inclusion is.
This is a journey no less, and this is something that we just started. It will be continued and carried forth by my successors. But it is very important work it's a work that will make us stronger as an organization and stronger as a University.
Now, finally, none of this would be possible without the commitment and work of some terrific people. Let me just mention and give my thanks to my council vice chairs, my committee chairs and vice chairs, my fellow board members and my fellow council members. You've all done such terrific work throughout the pandemic; and I would be remiss if I didn't mention the fantastic work of Tina Magdalena and the rest of the AD staff that made all this possible.
We're so fortunate that we have such committed volunteers, alumni, staff that help support the University. And I have to say that you all have made my time as chairman of the council something that I will always cherish. So thank you very much for that.
So before I conclude my remarks, I do want to invite a friend and mentor up here to the podium with me; Dr. Nathan Connell, he's a former chair of council. Nathan, come on up.
Now, we have to go over there in second so that they take pictures of us. But it's a citation that I'm going to present to Nathan on behalf of the University. It's signed by President Pollack and Chairman Harrison. And I won't read the whole thing, but the gist of it and how it ends is that we're thanking Nathan for his terrific service to the University, to council, and for his leadership as a alumni leader. So thank you, Nathan.
Let's move here.
Thank you very much.
ROBERT HARRISON: Thank you, John; and Nathan, congratulations. I spoke a few minutes ago about how impressively President Pollack led the University through the past two years of the pandemic. While she has unarguably been a great wartime pandemic president, she has also been the leader we hired five years ago for Cornell's future.
On that front, President Pollack has continued to advance the educational verve she described and prioritized at her inauguration. And even during these past two challenging years, Cornell has continued its mission of research, teaching, and engagement full throttle.
We have launched a new school of public policy and the College of Computing and Information Science, each led by a world class dean. We have opened stunning new residents and dining halls as part of the North Campus residential expansion, which is not only providing first rate housing for our students, but is also incentivizing the college town landlords to up their game in order to remain--
--in order to remain competitive in the market that we have created. President Pollack brought eCornell and the University's external education programs together under the academic leadership of the provost to expand Cornell's reach and impact to entrepreneurs and business professionals, as well as to our students. And very importantly, she has been deeply involved in campus and community engagement over issues of diversity, inclusion, equity, free speech, access and the other values that comprise our identity as Cornellians.
President Pollack always aims high. With deep appreciation and respect, it is now my privilege to introduce our 14th President Martha Pollock for the Sate of the University Address.
MARTHA POLLACK: Good morning, everyone. Now, I know Bob thinks I'm about to launch into the State of the University, and I am going to do that, but not just yet because before I get to sharing the State of our University with you, I need to take a few minutes to recognize the person who has done so much to bring Cornell to the state of strength and the state of momentum that we're in today. And that person is, of course, Bob Harrison, who as you know--
--is about to step down after 10 years as chair and 22 years as a member of the Board of Trustees, 20 of them consecutive and two that he served as a student trustee. There is simply no way to summarize in just a few minutes what Bob has meant to Cornell since he first stepped onto this campus almost 50 years ago. But what I can say is that Bob is a walking, talking exemplar of everything that is best about Cornell and especially everything that's best about our alumni.
I first met Bob almost six years ago when I walked into a room full of people for an interview for this job. With everything I knew about Cornell the University, it was really my first experience of Cornell the community and of the truly outsize remarkable contributions that the alumni community make to Cornell.
I learned very quickly that no one in the room was just a Cornell alum. They were all Cornellians. You are all Cornellians. And at the heart of this group of Cornellians was Bob absolutely radiating his love and his enthusiasm for all things Cornell. And not only did he love Cornell. He seemed to know everything there was about Cornell that was to be known.
In the weeks that followed and in the years since, Bob has been my guide in all those things Cornell, he's been my partner and leading it-- what is it? My other chopstick? Honestly, I say this very sincerely, he has been the best board chair that any University president could hope for.
His leadership, his wisdom, his exceptional judgment and his tremendous expertise have all helped bring us to the place we are as a University. A true Cornellian, Bob never stops learning. There is just not a part of Cornell that he is not interested in. He has an incredible ability to listen and an incredible ability to make sure that whomever he's listening to knows that they've been heard.
He always has the time to give directions to prospective students on the arts quad, to give restaurant suggestions to Cornell parents who he runs into in the Statler Lobby, or career advice to any students who ask. And he's an endlessly good sport no matter what Cornell asks of him. With every request, the answer's always the same. If you think I can help, I'll do whatever you need me to do.
Bob is a tireless ambassador and the ultimate Cornell cheerleader. He was instrumental in Cornell's winning the competition for the Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island; and he was a big part of that success all along.
How'd he do it? Well, he marshaled the entire Cornell community effort. Michael Bloomberg, who at the time was the mayor of New York, complained that he couldn't go to an event anywhere, anywhere in New York, without being buttonholed by some passionate Cornellian who's saying, you got to give this one to Cornell.
Bob's passion is just infectious. And because of him the Cornell Board of Trustees, isn't just a group of staunch supporters of this University. They're committed leaders. They're valuable advisors, and they're true friends of the University, absolutely essential to our success and dedicated to all things best about Cornell.
I truly think it's a testament to Bob's leadership that even after they complete four or eight years of service, volunteer service, almost every single one of our retiring board members asks, what can I do next to help? In the last 10 years, Bob has led the board through great challenges, from financial crisis to the tragic death of a president, and, of course, the pandemic. And even the most complex and difficult situations, he has a tremendous ability both to see the big picture and to project calm.
Throughout the tremendously complex planning and decision making that came with a sudden deactivating of the campus in March of 2020 and then welcoming back all of our students in the fall of 2020, Bob was a critical partner and a sounding board, an indispensable source of advice. I mean, it seems like so long ago, but it was really only a year and a half since Cornell became one of the only universities and the only Ivy to bring back all of our students for instruction.
But let me tell you something about that decision. We knew that decision would be controversial. We knew that decision would be risky. And if we hadn't had Bob in the leadership of the board behind us, supporting us, saying yes, we understand what you're doing; we know the risks you're taking and we're behind you; we know you're doing what you think is best based on the science; without that, we could not have taken that risk. So kudos to Bob and the board for supporting us on that.
Bob, on behalf of the entire University and on behalf of every Cornellian, thank you. I'd like you to come up to the stage for a moment.
You can go stand over there and we'll take a picture in a minute.
I am delighted to announce that Cornell University has established the Robert S. Harrison Recent Alumni Volunteer Award, to recognize individuals who within 10 years of having received their undergraduate, graduate, or professional degrees have contributed meaningfully to Cornell University volunteer organizations or University initiatives, and who demonstrate-- this is a really long sentence. I didn't write this sentence-- who demonstrate through their service a commitment to Cornell University's mission to discover--
But I haven't yet said State of the Union as opposed to State--
They've demonstrated a commitment to Cornell University's mission to discover, preserve and disseminate knowledge, and to educate the next generation of global citizens, and to promote a culture of broad inquiry-- Fred, how did you write this sentence-- throughout and beyond the Cornell community. The Robert S. Harrison Recent Alumni Volunteer Award.
OK. And now we will do the State of the University. And I have to tell you that every year when we put this together, one of my biggest challenges is choosing what news and achievements to highlight from what's always been a very full 12 months. And this time the challenge is doubly compounded because I have not 12, but 17 months to report on since my last State of the University Address. And none of those have been ordinary months. But neither is Cornell an ordinary University. Despite all of the challenges of the pandemic and all the other crises we face since my last report, these have been extraordinarily productive months even by the standards of Cornell.
As Bob noted, we've launched new departments, a new school, and a tremendously ambitious new philanthropic campaign. Our faculty, our staff and our students have achieved at the highest levels, and their work has been recognized with an impressive range of accolades and awards. And as the public health landscape has continued to evolve we've continued to rely on the science and expertise in our faculty in ways that are both new and that stand at the heart of our 157-year-old mission, creating new knowledge and educating new generations of global leaders with a public purpose and for a changing world.
This weekend, we're going to celebrate the life of one of Cornell's giants, Frank H.T. Rhodes. President Rhodes was a visionary in so many ways and he spoke often and eloquently on what he saw as the role of the University, not just for its own faculty, students, and graduates, but for all of humanity. It has become, he wrote, the quiet but decisive catalyst in modern society. The factor essential to its effective functioning and well-being, and today Cornell is that catalyst in countless ways.
We are an institution like no other; one that combines Ivy League scholarship and research with a land grant mission, the liberal arts with the professions, our rural campus with our urban campuses, an incredible breadth and depth of world leading expertise with a culture of collaboration, and, of course, a foundational commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
This constellation of strengths has really enabled us to be uniquely agile in our ability to respond to the challenges and the changes of our time. And it puts us I believe in a unique position to carry forward as our Cornell's vision and become the model of a modern research University for the 21st century; one that creates the knowledge, the expertise the global citizens, and the innovative solutions that we need for the future; one that fulfills the role of the University as President Rhodes saw it, as an engine that drives humanity forward.
That all begins, of course with our academic distinction. Our Cornell faculty across our colleges and campuses are world class with achievements that span the disciplines and the planet. Since my last State of the University Address in October of 2020, eight Cornell faculty members have received some of the highest honors that are bestowed to researchers and scholars in this country; election to the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Science, the National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Americas Academy of Sciences. In fact, one faculty member, Maureen Hansen, the Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor of molecular biology and genetics, was elected both to the National Academy of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Yes, to both of them in one year.
Of course, there are many awards; many, many awards that recognize our faculty each year. And if I tried to do justice to every single one of them, we wouldn't just still be here at lunchtime. We'd still be here at 9 o'clock. Well, I'd still be here at 9 o'clock. You'd all probably still be at the Statler Bar. But that's another story.
So let me just give you a few notable examples chosen from a very, very long list. Deborah Estrin, who is the associate dean and Robert Tishman professor at Cornell Tech, has been named the 2022 recipient of the very prestigious I triple E. That's the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers John von Neumann Medal. Dr. Estrin is a pioneer in the development of mobile and wireless systems to collect and analyze real-time data. Her research focus is very broad, but it includes the study of what she calls small data. Those are those digital breadcrumbs that we leave as we go about our lives, and she studies how they can be used to personalize health care without sacrificing privacy.
And Sally Permar, the Nancy Paduano Professor of Pediatrics and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Weill Cornell Medicine, has been honored with the 2021 Society of Pediatric Research Award in honor of Enid Johnson. This prize recognizes her groundbreaking work to protect infants from mother to child HIV infection and prenatal infection with cytomegalovirus, or CMV.
Dr. Permar is a leader in the field of perinatal infection, and her work focuses on the development of perinatal vaccines against both the HIV and CMV viruses.
And Scott Emr, the Frank H.T. Rhodes class of 1956 professor of molecular biology and genetics and director of the Weill Institute for Cell and Molecular Biology, was awarded the extremely prestigious-- it's often called the pre-Nobel Prize-- the extremely prestigious Shore Prize in life science and medicine for the landmark discovery of the endosomal sorting complexes required for transport, or ESCRT pathway. I think if there were a Shore Prize for acronym, he'd win that too. The ESCRT pathway is central to several important biological processes, including cell division, the remodeling of neurons, and processes that slow or stop cell growth, all processes that are involved in cancer, neurodegeneration, Parkinson's disease, and the release and transmission of viruses.
And finally, I want to mention Derrick Spires, associate professor of literatures in English and affiliate faculty in American study, visual studies, and media studies, who's won the Modern Language Association Prize for a first book for The Practice of Citizenship, Black Politics and Print Culture in the Early United States. His book explores the parallel development of early Black print culture and legal and cultural understandings of US citizenship between 1787 and 1861. And the award committee called the practice of citizenship a gorgeously written, powerfully argued, and extensively researched book that casts vivid new light on a timely and important topic.
Now, the success of our faculty of course isn't reflected only in the prizes they win. In fact, there are many ways to measure faculty impact, and another metric is research activity. Our faculty compete for research funds with their peers around the nation and around the world.
And in fiscal year 2021, our sponsored research expenditures-- so the money we spent that we got from external sources-- was $804.6 million. This continues a steady multi-year upward trend. Indeed, over the last five years, we've seen a 36% increase in federal funding, including a 61% increase in funding from the National Institutes of Health, and we've also seen a 52% increase in corporate research funding.
Our research is done in departments and programs and centers all across our campuses, including ones that are truly unique in what they offer, such as the Cornell Center for Historic Keyboards, which provides an unparalleled resource for historically informed performance and musical scholarship. And we provide facilities that are available nowhere else, like Cornell's high energy synchrotron source or chess.
Chess enables research in topics from next generation energy storage, to more stable food colorings, to the design of optimized enzymes for biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. And chess isn't just an incredibly valuable resource for Cornell faculty and students. Each year it hosts over 1,000 scientists and scientists in training who come here to collect data for their research.
Across the University, concerts and installations and exhibits and performances enrich the life of our whole community. For example, our many exhibits in the Johnson Museum of Art, such as this sculpture by Alberto Giacometti Walking Man II, and the exhibit now on display at the Mann Library by our current MFA student David Naska, which examines the form and nature of marine invertebrates.
Our Institute of Politics and Global Health raises the discourse and deepens our understanding of political and global events through both research and public engagement. Recent events have shed light on everything from rebuilding New York state's infrastructure, to the use of armed drones, to the plight of Afghan interpreters, providing, as the Institute's director Steve Israel puts it, an oasis of bipartisanship and common good. And through our new initiative on migrations we are bringing our multidisciplinary expertise to bear on the unprecedented scale and complexity of movement on our planet, not just of humans, but of plants and animals and ideas and pathogens.
In many cases, Cornell research also leads to new products and technologies. Our Center for Technology Licensing has seen a 40% increase in licensing income over the past five years. And thanks to our new approach to licensing we have a strong and growing portfolio of $30 million in startup equity. Also, over the past five years, Cornell research across our three campuses has led to 81 new startups, which have raised a total of nearly $1.5 billion in total funding and have created 1,700 new jobs.
Many of these startups have come from our programs at Cornell Tech, our hub of human centered tech innovation on Roosevelt Island. And as we look forward to Cornell Tech's 10th anniversary this summer, the campus is absolutely flourishing. If you're in New York City and you haven't been there, please go and visit. It's amazing.
With eight masters and five PhD programs, it currently has 500 graduate students and 38 spectacular faculty members, as well as more than 1,200 graduates to date. It's academic programs continue to grow, building on the 2020 launch of our public interest tech and urban tech initiatives, and this past year saw its campus expand with the opening of the Verizon Executive Education Center and the Graduate Hotel.
Consistent with our theme of being one Cornell, the work at Cornell Tech is intimately tied to and integrated with that on our other campuses. Cornell as a whole across our campuses is rated number two in AI and number three in computer security, and our new cross campus AI initiative will further advance Cornell's already stellar reputation in AI research. And through our K-12 programs in the New York City schools as well as our breakthrough tech program, we're not only building the future of education for the age of AI, but we're also blazing a trail for access and inclusion in the tech ecosystem.
As Bob mentioned, just across the river from Cornell Tech is Weill Cornell Medicine. And there, our faculty, staff, and students do work whose impact reverberates through the lives of countless people who maybe never even set foot on this Ithaca campus through research and education, and importantly, patient care.
As just two of many examples I could give you of while Cornell's life changing research, our physician scientists at both our New York City and Doha campuses are collaborating on the use of population specific genetic screening tools to better diagnose genetic disorders and advance personalized medicine. And with a new $9.8 million grant for the National Institutes of Health, our researchers will lead a consortium of health care institutions in analyzing health data to unravel the complexities of long COVID.
Taken together, the research and education happening across Cornell mean much more, of course, than publications and awards, and even new startups. They mean a future in which we can better understand and treat systemic lupus, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and both acute and post-acute COVID infection.
They mean more livable cities and more ethical technology, and a more just society. They mean a deeper understanding of what it is to be human through the art and the literature and the music that connects our minds and feeds our souls. And through the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability, they mean bringing together our world class expertise across so many disciplines to create a more equitable healthier future on a sustainable and livable planet.
Here at Cornell we're tackling the problem of carbon neutrality with research into more efficient batteries, recyclable solar panels, and geothermal heating, the Earth source heating project that you heard about earlier. We're putting our research into practice across our campuses.
I am just so proud of the fact that we have earned platinum status from AASHE, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability and Higher Education not just once, but twice. I'm going to tell you there's only two universities in this country that have done that, ours and this University out in Palo Alto. I often forget the name of it. That's the other one.
We're also ranked fourth in the Forbes cool schools rating; the only Ivy in the top 100. We are a cool school.
And this summer, Cornell Atkinson will launch in partnership with all of our schools and colleges the 2030 Project, a Cornell climate initiative, harnessing our collaborative scholarship, science, innovation, and entrepreneurship to advance solutions for this decisive decade for climate action.
Now, in sharing all of these achievements and accomplishments, I would be remiss if I did not mention the incredible contributions of our staff. From maintaining our facilities, to supporting our academics, to keeping our students safe and warm and fed, and really so much more, our staff are the backbone of our Cornell community. Staff like the recipients you see here who got the Bartels Award for Custodial Service Excellence, Kathy Smith, Melissa Heuser, Rob Reis, and Zorica Mrdjen. They were recognized in December--
They were recognized in December for their really essential behind the scenes work throughout the pandemic, when was even more critical than ever. Can we have another round of applause for our staff?
They are truly the unsung heroes of this University. And following the pandemic year of 2021, we had a great time last summer celebrating our staff at the street fair that you see here. It was an event that we planned throughout that socially distanced winter. And it was made possible and really wonderful due to the help of our students and our faculty, all of who volunteered to support our staff who had worked throughout the pandemic. It was a lot of fun. I hope we can continue to do street fairs even if we don't have excuses to have them.
Of course, as all of you know, of course, we don't just shape the future through our research. Critically we also do it through our education. The education we provide at the undergraduate, the graduate and the professional levels is critical to our mission. And the experiences that our students have here, experiences that were so formative to all of you, those experiences prepare them for their lives and their careers.
Now, students come to Cornell for many reasons. They come for our world class faculty. They come for the opportunities for research. They come for our absolute wealth of extracurricular activities, from a cappella, to aikido, from beekeeping, to ballroom dancing, all the way to our Zambia community education initiative. They come to be part of and to cheer on the Big Red.
They come for the beauty they find here and the relationships they build. They come for the diversity of our academic excellence, and they come to experience both Ithaca and Manhattan. And what they find here transforms them.
Bob mentioned our new North Campus residential expansions, our housing units. We were first able to welcome students here last fall, and we are now as a result of NCRA not just able to offer, but require an on campus residential experience, whether in a residence hall or other affiliated housing, to all of our first and second year undergraduates.
On North Campus, along with the two new residence halls, we also opened a new dining facility inside of Toni Morrison Hall; I'll tell you about this. A truly spectacular 1,000 seat space. And last semester, I had the pleasure of going there with some of our mining family Cornell national scholars, and we made pizza together.
That is sous chef Brian Wren. There he is. He's an absolute expert at teaching us how to make pizza. And we had a great time. He's not here today, but my group of mining scholars made pizza, and Ryan Lombardi, the Vice President for Student Campus Life, his group of mining scholars made bowls, sauteed wok bowls.
The pizza was better. Don't tell Ryan I said that.
Of course, another key part of the Cornell experience for so many of our students is athletics. It builds teamwork, leadership and resilience. After sitting out over a year of practice and competition because of the pandemic, the Big Red is back with a vengeance. 11 of our varsity teams have earned national rankings this year, two of our athletes won national titles, and our men's basketball team qualified for the Ivy League Tournament under 2022 Conference Coach of the year Brian Earl.
And this year as we mark the 50th anniversary of Title IX legislation, we are also celebrating a half a century of women's athletics at Cornell; decades marked by IVL league titles and field hockey, soccer, softball and volleyball, and phenomenal student athletes like Taylor Knibb, class of '20 who ran cross-country here at Cornell, and last summer became the youngest woman ever to qualify for the US triathlon team for the Olympics.
And while I'm on the subject of Olympics, that's Karen Chen, class of '23 on the left.
She helped bring home a US team silver from Beijing. And on the right, you see the Cornellian members of the gold medalist Team Canada. I happen to be in Canada when the game was being played. It was very exciting. And one of their assistant coaches is Doug Dara, class of '91, our own Everett family head coach of Cornell women's ice hockey.
Wherever our students are headed, their Cornell education doesn't begin or end in Ithaca. Part of our mission is educating a new generation of global leaders. And with the uncertainties we live with today, those global connections are more important than ever.
Looking forward, we're deepening our capacity for sustained strategic engagement around the world by developing global hubs that will launch in several cities this fall worldwide. They're designed to provide mutually beneficial relationships with University peers that will enable us to exchange students develop joint research, engage with local communities and organizations, and connect more robustly with our international alumni.
And Bob mentioned eCornell. Thanks to the tremendous growth of eCornell, our home for online education we now reached over 100,000 unique nontraditional students across the globe each year, with our expertise on topics such as leadership, diversity and equity, data analytics, and nutrition. In fact, Cornell is now a leader in the rapidly growing-- I don't know which one's mine.
I'll take one of the unopened ones. Cornell is now a leader-- Bob, this one says B, but you didn't open it. That's mine. The one that says M has already opened.
Cornell is now a leader in the rapidly growing area of micro credentials with more high quality, small cohort based certificate programs than any other University. And in the last five years, eCornell has also supported the launch of new professional master's programs.
As eCornell grows, it continues to benefit its own students, but also the broader University community with annual revenues that have increased from $23 million to $117 million over the past four years and net annual proceeds to academic units and the University that have grown from $3 million to $20 million, this makes a difference. And this is happening even as we invest more than $5 million per year in ongoing course development.
Now, let me say a little bit more about money. Tuition revenue is, of course, the largest source of our academic enterprise, but even our full tuition rate, which is paid by fewer than half of our undergraduates, even that does not cover the full cost of a Cornell education. Our endowment is absolutely critical to maintaining our academic excellence, and the skill and dedication of our investment management team this past year resulted in extraordinary success with investment returns of 42%, the largest gain in more than three decades.
We are a very large school. We are a school that's committed to access and inclusion. And as a result, our endowment must go farther than that of many other schools. And even with the terrific growth, our per student endowment-- remember we're really big-- our per student element is below that of dozens of our peers. So we remain extremely disciplined in our endowment payout practices so that we can ensure that whatever the financial outlook, our endowment will always be there to support our University and our exceptional students.
Students like Annabella Maria Galang, '23, a biological science major in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences who last spring chaired the annual symposium of the Cornell Undergraduate Research Board; she calls the experience of research a way of having a distinct voice and a place within the academic community where you can dance on the edge of what's known.
And Patrick Mehler, member of the Ithaca Common Council and president of Cornell Votes, a student run nonpartisan program in the David M. Einhorn Center for a community engagement, which is dedicated-- not the Community Center for Community engagement, but Cornell Votes is dedicated to increasing voter registration turnout and civic engagement across campus Thanks in part to their efforts, Cornell had 4,108 more students turn out to vote in 2020 to 2016, the biggest growth in the Ivy League.
And students like this team of Cornell graduate students, who won a grant from NASA University's Student Research Challenge, which invites exploration of new concepts relevant to NASA's Aeronautics program. These students came up with a proposal for a sensor that can detect conditions inside an object that's being 3D printed. It does this by emitting sound waves through the object and then interpreting that data using high energy X-ray diffraction chest that Cornell high energy synchrotron source that I mentioned a few minutes ago. That kind of analysis could help prevent catastrophic failure of aeronautical parts that are often 3D printed. So things like nozzles and load bearing airframe sections.
The student achievements I've just mentioned everything from chairing a research symposium, to leading a civic organization, to applying for a NASA grant, these achievements speak volumes both to the caliber of students at Cornell and the kinds of opportunities we offer them when they're here. And when you look at the paths that so many of our students take after graduation, that so many of you have taken after graduation, the impact they've had on our world is outstanding.
So consider for a moment alumni like Angela Hwang MBA '94, Bob Langer class of '70, and Leonard Schleifer class of '73. You might not know their names, but they are leaders at Pfizer, Moderna, and Regeneron, companies that of course, led the way in developing the COVID vaccines and therapies that are allowing us to meet here in person today.
And as we envision a world where vaccine equity drives global health, the work of Peter Hotez, M.D. class of '87, is actually building that world. Through Corbevax, the easier to produce patent free COVID-19 vaccine that he co-developed, and which has already brought millions of doses of effective low cost vaccine to low and middle income countries and is on track to hit $1 billion doses by the end of 2020.
Now, I want to show you something. It actually involves the Big Red planet. I want to show you something that for me and maybe for you was one of the highlights of the past year. And that was the broadcast.
Yeah, you know her, right? That was the broadcast from 200 million miles away of NASA's Perseverance Rover landing on Mars. It was an extraordinary moment for humanity. And it was one that was called in real time by Cornell alumna Swati Mohan class of '04. Listen to her.
- We are heading back to Swati Mohan who is part of the landing team. She'll be calling out key milestone and events as they happen from Mission Control. So let's listen in right now.
- We're about 14 minutes from entry interface. The vehicle is currently preparing the heat rejection system that has kept the thermal system cool inside an aeroshell for about the last six months. This will allow the spacecraft to more easily cut into lines and upcoming cruise stage separation as it gets closer to Mars [INAUDIBLE] is actually being pulled in by gravity and accelerating. By the time participants reaches the entry interface points, you should be going just under 5.4 kilometers per second. I can confirm that it is safely on Ithaca Mars [INAUDIBLE] a pathway.
MARTHA POLLACK: I'm really literally dying to get Swati back to campus to talk to our students. I think they'll just be amazed by her.
Everything I've just mentioned, the world shaping alumni, the exceptional education, the path breaking research, all of it stems from the remarkable and radical vision of our founder Ezra Cornell, who sought to do the greatest good for his country and his world. His vision of an institution for any person in any study became the blueprint for the University that we know today this engine that's driving humanity forward.
Today in a world changing more rapidly than ever before, humanity needs an engine that's more agile and more powerful, able to provide the world leading research and education and engagement that we're going to need in the decades ahead. And it's with that goal in mind that we've launched our new philanthropic campaign to do the greatest good.
As most of you probably already know, our campaign goals are ambitious, in line with our ambitions as a University. We're working to raise over $5 billion strengthening scholarships, fellowships, and financial aid for our undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, as we enhance our academic programs, our facilities, and our campus life. Faculty support is a major priority, especially the endowed professorships that help us to attract and retain the very best faculty in every field and enable them to do their best work once they're here.
The outsized impact of Cornellians on the world stems not only from our exceptional research, but also from our foundational commitment to being a University for any person, a place that welcomes the most talented and promising students regardless of background or ability to pay. And so affordability is a key campaign priority, ensuring that cost is never an obstacle to a Cornell education.
Undergraduate admissions at Cornell is need blind and we commit to meeting the full need of every student through a package of loans, grants and work study. But we still don't have the level of socioeconomic diversity that we aspire to.
So as part of our campaign, we have a goal to increase the proportion of lower and middle income students who are undergraduates at Cornell, expanding that number by 1,000, even as we grow the undergraduate student body by 650 students within the next five years. We're going to do this both through targeted recruitment and through an ambitious reduction in student debt by an average of 25%. And we're also looking to wave one summer savings expectation for each of our lower income students, enabling them to pursue unpaid career or research experiences.
Since my last report as we've moved forward in the campaign, we've named the Cornell Peter and Stephanie Nolan School of Hotel Administration; in honor of a gift from Peter Nolan class of '80 and MBA '82, and Stephanie Nolan class of '84 a gift that will be directed entirely to student affordability.
We held the formal launch of the New Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public policy. A new school within Cornell that had been an aspiration for decades and is now a reality thanks to the generosity of Jeb E. Brooks MBA '70 and his wife Cherie Wendelken together with the Brooks Family Foundation.
And just over a year ago, the faculty of computer and information science became the Cornell Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science, thanks to a generous gift of Ann S. Bowers class of '59.
Today due to the incredible support of our Cornell community, we've raised $3.1 billion across our campuses, resources that will strengthen our ability to do the greatest good now and in the decades to come.
There's a great deal we can't predict about what lies ahead for our University and our planet. The world we live in is a very different place than it was the last time we were together in this room, and it will be different again in ways we don't yet understand the next time we gather and the next and the next. But however the world changes, whatever comes next, I am confident that Cornellians will be out in front leading and exploring and helping humanity rise to every challenge; a catalyst for society, an engine driving humanity forward, and a University to do the greatest good. Thank you very much.
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Tune in to hear Board of Trustees Chairman Bob Harrison ’76 give an update during the Joint Annual Meeting followed by President Pollack’s State of the University Address. Finally stay to hear the Keynote about how Cornell has responded to the greatest challenges of our time with the creation of the Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy. The speakers will discuss how radical collaboration is needed to find solutions to challenges such as climate change, racism, inequality, and the fragility of democracy.