Presidential Archives

Reflections on the Call to Engagement

In the fall of 2003, Cornell’s 11th president Jeffrey Lehman issued his Call to Engagement, inviting Cornellians everywhere to consider a set of questions about the university’s future. His report to the community, Reflections on the Call to Engagement, has been released. The report includes the following preface:

“During my first year as Cornell’s president, I had many opportunities to listen to what others think about our university. I listened to faculty, students, staff, alumni, and our trustees. I listened in settings that included large public groups, smaller private conversations, and one-on-one meetings. I listened on our Ithaca campus and at Weill Medical College. I listened to people within our campus community and beyond. And I listened to the responses that people offered following the “Call to Engagement” that I issued a year ago.

The listening was fascinating in all regards — but I took special joy in listening to the responses to the Call to Engagement. The purpose of this report is to share with you a sense of that process as well as a sense of the responses.

I encourage you to read first the Introduction to the report, which will help provide context and explain a bit about what you can expect (and not expect!) from my Reflections on the Call to Engagement. I hope that you will then dig in and enjoy the sections on each of the questions that were posed to all Cornellians. I am confident that you will find the “listening” as interesting and thought provoking as I did.

My deepest thanks to all who participated in the Call to Engagement. The comments you shared with me and, just as importantly, the discussions that you had among yourselves, have contributed to a most stimulating conversation about the future of Cornell University.”

Jeffrey S. Lehman
October 2004


Message from President Lehman

Eight Questions