Cornell Launches $ 5 Billion ‘To Do The Greater Good’ Campaign


A recently launched major fundraising campaign aims to make Cornell the model university for the 21st century and beyond, building on its foundation of world-class academics, research and engagement.

The five-year, $ 5 billion “To Do the Greatest Good” campaign is named after a note by founder Ezra Cornell on the reasons for the university’s founding. The campaign will focus on three pillars: educating students to become leaders who carry Cornell’s ethics forward; tackle the world’s most difficult problems, from sustainability and health to social and economic equity; and connect Cornell with the world through public engagement, international programs and global reach.

“I see Cornell as standing at a turning point in its history, on the verge of being the model for a great research university for the next 150 years – doing ‘the greatest good’ in our changing world,” said said President Martha E. Pollack.

“Today’s complex global challenges may not be what Ezra Cornell had in mind in 1856, but the university he built is ready to meet them,” Pollack said. “You could almost say that today’s challenges demand a particular type of ethics and a particular type of education – one which, while contemporary, is still addressed to any person and to any study. “

Affordability for low- and middle-income students will be a key component of the campaign, which will include a goal of raising $ 500 million for undergraduate financial aid.

More than $ 2.6 billion has already been raised for the campaign, which will raise $ 3 billion for the Ithaca campus, $ 1.5 billion for Weill Cornell Medicine and $ 500 million for Cornell Tech, all meeting critical needs ranging from financial aid to academic programs, staffed faculty, research and clinical care.

The campaign – launched with a video broadcast for the first time on October 21 – will support Cornell students and faculty as they tackle the great issues of our time and engage with communities in New York State, New York City and around the world to create knowledge having an impact.

Cornellians play an important role in educating future leaders and in addressing the world’s most pressing challenges, said Bob Harrison ’76, Chairman of the Cornell Board of Directors, in the video, hosted by the administrator. elected by Selam Woldai ’23 undergraduate students.

The handwritten phrase “doing the greater good” is taken directly from the notes Ezra Cornell prepared to address the New York State Legislature regarding the founding of Cornell University in 1865.

“The needs are urgent and complex – and Cornell has long made enormous contributions to meet them and anticipate the next ones,” said Harrison. “Today we call on all of you in this effort. I hope you will be inspired to join a long line of Cornellians, starting with our founder in 1865, to enable this great university to do the greatest good.

The strong start to the campaign is due to the 140,000 alumni who have engaged with Cornell during the campaign so far, volunteering, attending events or giving gifts, Harrison said. The university is on track to meet the goal of hiring 200,000 alumni by the end of the campaign in 2026.

Even the COVID-19 pandemic has not held back the Cornellians’ engagement, he noted. Over 25,000 alumni who had never engaged with Cornell made the decision to do so in the past year and a half.

“Increasing Cornellian bonds benefit our alumni and students both professionally and socially – and it multiplies Cornell’s ability to make a meaningful impact in communities around the world,” said Harrison.

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