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Cornell joins coalition dedicated to student access, success

With the goal of improving the college admission application process for all students, more than 80 public and private colleges and universities, including Cornell, have joined together to form the Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success.

The participating colleges and universities hope to make the college admission process a more engaged, ongoing and educationally reaffirming experience, and to motivate a stronger college-going mindset among students of all backgrounds, especially those from low-income families or underrepresented groups.

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Message from the Provost

Diversity is in Cornell’s DNA. From our founding, we have embraced, cultivated, and protected the differences that enrich our community and the world. We hold diversity as a timeless core value and seek out and gather people with a spectrum of perspectives and backgrounds to study and work at Cornell.

Our diversity is a foundation of our excellence and we strive to strengthen it through access and affordability. By bolstering resources for scholarships, graduate fellowships, professional student scholarships, and faculty and staff positions, we will keep our doors open and build bridges for the best, the brightest, and the most varied to join our community.


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Our Vision

In 1865, Ezra Cornell and A.D. White founded Cornell as an institution “where any person can find instruction in any study.” From its early days, the university has set milestones as a champion of access, inclusion, and respect for all, among them:

  • 1872—One of the first institutions in the East to welcome women
  • 1906—The founding institution for Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, the first undergraduate African-American fraternity
  • 1916—Home to Rho Psi, the first Asian fraternity in the Ivy League
  • 1929—The first university to have an interfaith department for religious affairs
  • 1936—The first university to award a PhD to an African-American woman, Flemmie Kittrell

Inspired by this legacy, we look ahead to Cornell’s sesquicentennial in 2015 and our goal of sustaining our excellence as America’s first opportunity university. We seek to strengthen diversity-engaged learning and reinvigorate our commitment to providing access to excellent education and employment for all individuals, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, physical ability, veteran status, nationality, ethnicity, economic status, and other markers of difference. 

Our Plan

We will sustain, safeguard, and honor diversity within our community and throughout New York State, the nation, and the world. To succeed in this goal, and as outlined in the university’s strategic plan, we will:

  • Increase the size and quality of faculty in strategically important academic areas to address projected retirements
  • Significantly increase the diversity of faculty through new hires and enhanced retention efforts
  • Attract a talented and diverse workforce
  • Strengthen efforts to attract and educate an excellent and diverse body of undergraduate students
  • Strengthen the capacity of graduate and professional programs to recruit and educate a diverse body of the very best students


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Our Priorities

As we deepen our commitment to diversity, the following forms of support will sustain Cornell as a beacon of educational excellence and inclusiveness:

  • Faculty diversity
  • Faculty renewal and recruitment
  • Diversity-centered initiatives in pedagogy
  • Undergraduate scholarships
  • International undergraduate scholarships
  • Graduate fellowships and professional student scholarships
  • Diversity-centered initiatives for undergraduate and graduate students
  • Annual funds


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Toward New Destinations

Toward New Destinations provides a broad institutional framework for diversity, asserting the centrality of diversity and inclusion to the university’s values and excellence. Cornell’s diversity plan is based on the recognition that education, research, knowledge production, and operational and academic pursuits are enhanced through full and reciprocal engagement among diverse perspectives, life experiences, and modes of knowledge creation and interpretation. Toward New Destinations is thus designed to promote the pursuit of excellence through support for the core values provided in Cornell’s institutional commitment of “Open Doors, Open Hearts, Open Minds.” Toward New Destinations Initiatives 2013-14.

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Lynette Chappell-Williams
Associate Vice President for Inclusion
and Workforce Diversity
Cornell University
160 Day Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853

A.T. Miller
Associate Vice Provost for
Academic Diversity Initiatives
Cornell University
200 Computing and Communications Center
Ithaca, NY 14853



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