The Cornell University Mission

Student at an old wooden table in the A.D. White Library

Cornell libraries are dynamic spaces with wired and wireless access, social areas, and places for contemplation and study.

Young computer science professor

Professor Rajit Manohar (Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, and Applied Mathematics) came to Cornell via IIT-Bombay and Caltech.

"I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study."

Ezra Cornell, 1868

Cornell is a private, Ivy League university and the land-grant university for New York State. Cornell's mission is to discover, preserve, and disseminate knowledge; produce creative work; and promote a culture of broad inquiry throughout and beyond the Cornell community. Cornell also aims, through public service, to enhance the lives and livelihoods of our students, the people of New York, and others around the world.

Our faculty, students, alumni, and staff strive toward these objectives in a context of freedom with responsibility. We foster initiative, integrity, and excellence, in an environment of collegiality, civility, and responsible stewardship. As the land-grant university for the state of New York, we apply the results of our endeavors in service to our alumni, the community, the state, the nation, and the world.

Student and professors looking at an x-ray of a mummy

Cornell's opportunities are as wide as your imagination. Here, Rhodes scholar Brian Finucane examines a pre-Inca Peruvian mummy. His work was featured in National Geographic's The Mummy Road Show.


Cornell aspires to be the exemplary comprehensive research university for the 21st century on the basis of our distinctive status as a private university with a formal public mission. Faculty, staff, and students will thrive at Cornell because of its unparalleled combination of quality and breadth; its high standards; its open, collaborative, and innovative culture; the opportunities provided by beautiful, vibrant rural and urban campuses; and programs that extend throughout the state of New York and across the globe.