October 13, 2004

Lehman Responds To Engagement

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President Jeffrey S. Lehman ’77 issues his 80-page “Reflections on the Call to Engagement” today. The document contains the president’s thought and initial commentary on over 700 responses to the eight categories of questions he asked during his first days in office.

“I believe there is much wisdom to be gleaned from many of these comments,” Lehman wrote. That wisdom may be a bit lengthy, with comments spanning over a thousand pages, excerpts of which appear throughout the document.

The comments, and Lehman’s reflections on them, are also comprehensive. The document covers new technology and the “exciting possibilities for teaching” that they have brought, the meaning of the Morrill Act and the land grant mission for Cornell today, smaller class sizes and everything in between.

Lehman listened to and responded to calls for continued and expanded programs related to Cornell’s out-of-Ithaca, out-of-state and out-of-country academic goals, paying particular attention to Weill Medical College and Cornell’s involvement in Asia.

He also acknowledged the importance of Ithaca’s natural beauty and the close bonds developed here, as well as the desire of some that “the heart of Cornell should remain in Ithaca.”

Lehman listened as students and faculty explored the “possibilities of synergistic collaboration.”

This collaboration involves different Cornell campuses working together, such as Weill and the Ithaca campus.

Lehman also discussed Cornell’s work with other institutions, including that on the Shoals Marine Laboratory with the University of New Hampshire. He also highlighted possibilities for future collaboration ranging from inter-disciplinary work within the University to projects involving international groups such as the United Nations and the World Bank.

Lehman’s report was, by his own reckoning, an attempt to “share an overall sense of the responses” to the Call. He encourages Cornell to read the entire document, especially the direct excerpts from comments he received. These comments, the president said, are “insightful, witty, internally contradictory.”

Simeon Moss ’73, deputy director of the Cornell News Service, noted that the report is not the president’s ideas for the future of the University. He said that those ideas will be presented during his second State of the University Address to the Board of Trustees on Oct. 29.

Lehman’s reflections are available at http://www.cornell.edu/president/engagement.cfm.

Archived article by Michael Morisy
Sun Senior Writer