Cornell University has announced a $50 million gift from the Einhorn Family Charitable Trust to launch an initiative that establishes community engagement and real-world learning experiences as the hallmark of the university's undergraduate experience.
The grant will support Engaged Cornell, a ten-year, $150 million initiative to empower Cornell students to become active citizens and tackle critical challenges through hands-on, practical learning experiences in their communities and around the world. Among other things, the initiative aims to create a new model for higher education in which public engagement is fully institutionalized and implemented effectively. "From volunteer activities to intellectual engagement to the pursuit of careers that benefit others, students' experiences and outcomes will be transformed," said Susan Murphy, vice president for student and academic services. "Engaged Cornell will enhance and extend programs beyond the classroom that nurture empathy, initiative, cooperation, self-reflection, and compassion."
Goals of the initiative include boosting Cornell students' participation in high-quality community engagement to 100 percent by 2025; preparing faculty members in all departments and disciplines in community-engaged teaching and research and recognizing those who excel; establishing university-wide learning outcomes that instill shared values across the Cornell campus and curricula; and positioning Cornell as a recognized leader in community engagement. To achieve its goals, Engaged Cornell will award competitive grants at the departmental level and promote the creation of introductory and advanced courses open to all students.
The Einhorn Family Charitable Trust was established by David Einhorn and his wife, Cheryl, both of whom graduated from Cornell in 1991. David Einhorn is the founder and president of Greenlight Capital, a New York City-based hedge fund, while Cheryl Einhorn is a journalist and adjunct faculty member at the Columbia University School of Journalism.
"David and I are thrilled to partner with Cornell to educate and empower faculty and students to have important learning opportunities beyond the classroom," said Cheryl Einhorn. "Engaged Cornell will enable students to build relationships with people in different places and from different backgrounds while affecting real change."