Land-Grant Mission

From New York state to India, ILR students and faculty are making a difference by carrying out Cornell's land-grant mission.
Cornell University - ILR School : ILR Alumni newsletter :  From New York state to India and South Africa, ILR students and faculty are making a difference by carrying out Cornell's land-grant mission
Tuesday, July 31, 2012

President Abraham Lincoln 150 years ago this week signed legislation laying the foundation from which the ILR School was created.

The Morrill Land Grant Act mandated that each state receive federally-owned land that it could sell to build "land-grant" colleges for the mission of conducting research and outreach for improving quality of life for all state residents.

As a result, higher education became more applicable to daily living and Cornell University was established as New York state's land-grant institution, a place where people from all walks of life could learn.

The university is led in its land-grant mission by ILR, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Veterinary Medicine and the College of Human Ecology.

ILR Associate Dean of Outreach Susanne Bruyère said the school's land-grant mission now has worldwide impact.

"The perimeters of our reach are now global, expanding both our own learning and our efforts to make meaningful, community-relevant contributions to populations in all corners of the globe," she said in an interview.

"For ILR, that now means addressing the cutting-edge HR practice and policy interests of multi-national companies operating throughout the world; sending our students to India, South Africa and elsewhere to experience 'global service learning' among rural indigenous peoples as they design entrepreneurship activities that increase their economic independence and individual dignity; and providing leadership to advance community and economic development initiatives across New York state, the U.S and across the globe."

Simon Boehme '14 is in Mysore, India, this summer working with the Grassroots Research and Advocacy Movement as a research and policy consultant intern. He is in India as part of ILR's global service learning initiative with the Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement.

"The work I am doing in India is similar to what President Lincoln envisioned for America 150 years ago -- education for everyone," Boehme wrote in an email.

"People who live in tribes are not offered the same opportunities as those who live in more populous and resource-rich communities," he said. "My work in India is to help achieve a goal both America and India shares -- ensuring every child receives a quality education."

Writing education policy on improving best practices for academic outcomes, community engagement, diversity and equality comes full circle with ILR education, Boehme said. Research at ILR's Scheinman Institute on Conflict Resolution and classes on organizational leadership have contributed to his work on policy issues, he said.