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The Character of Our Community

“In the process of acquiring a reputation,” noted , the John Stambaugh Professor of History, on the 75th anniversary of the signing of the university’s charter, “Cornell acquired something better than a reputation... It acquired a character.”

Why character? Character is core. Character is concrete. Character is what you believe, value and hold to be true. Cornell University has six core values that bind us as a community: Purposeful Discovery, Free and Open Inquiry and Discussion, A Community of Belonging, Exploration across Boundaries, Changing Lives through Public Engagement and Respect for the Natural Environment.

Underpinning Cornell's Land-Grant mission, CALS shares the core values held by the university and strives to reflect those in all aspects of our teaching, research and extension work. Core values are defined as inviolable commitments that express "who we are as a community" and what principles or qualities should infuse all practices and activities within the community.

Our 10 core values

  • Seek knowledge
  • Support free and open intellectual inquiry and expression
  • Sustain excellence in teaching, research and public engagement
  • Use knowledge to enlighten ourselves and benefit the world
  • Reward and recognize merit, creativity and innovation
  • Treat all individuals with dignity, respect and fairness
  • Embrace difference and diversity
  • Promote cross-cultural and cross-national understanding
  • Be a collaborative, collegial and caring community
  • Be accessible and affordable to all who meet high academic standards