ILR Bridging Divide

President Rawlings’ State of the University Address
Friday, November 11, 2016

In his State of the University Address on Oct. 28, Interim Cornell President Hunter Rawlings recognized the ILR School’s role in strengthening the ties between Ithaca and New York City, whom has had a presence in NYC since 1948.

Emphasizing the importance of bridging New York’s “Upstate-Downstate divide,” not just geographically, but also demographically, economically, culturally and politically, Rawlings cited Cornell as a “private university with a public mission” with a history of bridging this divide.

This history includes Cornell working closely with both the State of New York and the City of New York, through ventures such as Weill Cornell Medicine, Cornell Tech and Cornell Cooperative Extension, and schools such as ILR.

“One of the issues facing the country is inequality, and the ILR School has been working to address this problem for some 70 years,” Rawlings said.

“Midtown-based extension faculty and staff in the ILR Worker Institute, for example, recently took a high-tech approach to helping day laborers, in partnership with organizations representing such workers: a smart-phone application to prevent wage theft and other labor rights violations that often keep low-wage and precarious workers in New York City from being paid for the work they do.”

In addition, Rawlings highlighted the work being done by the Yang-Tan Institute on Employment and Disability.

“It is in the third year of a five-year demonstration project called New York State PROMISE, designed to improve the success of youth who receive Supplemental Social Security Income in transitioning to employment,” he said.

“The project serves more than 1,300 youth from New York City, many of them with significant disabilities and living in economically disadvantaged single-parent households.”

Looking forward, Rawlings believes that the future of Cornell lies in further integrating the Ithaca, Weill Cornell Medicine, and Cornell Tech campuses into a cohesive whole.

“We need to become more than ever before ‘One Cornell,’” he said.

“If we succeed in connecting these parts, Cornell will become even stronger academically and in research, and serve the state and the world more effectively.”

For further coverage of President Rawlings remarks and to view his full speech, visit: