A call to do the greatest possible good
Learn more about the campaign, why it matters now, and the leaders guiding our efforts forward.About the campaign
The phrase “to do the greatest good” is taken directly from handwritten notes in Ezra Cornell’s cyphering book. These words guided Ezra’s defense of the Cornell University bill as it faced fierce opposition in the New York State Legislature in 1865. They conveyed his desire to do the greatest possible good for the state of New York and for all of humanity.
Today, these words represent our collective calling to make Cornell and the world better for future generations.
In 1865, the proposed Cornell University bill faced immense opposition. Ezra Cornell prepared remarks to defend the bill and, in doing so, conveyed his ardent desire to do the greatest possible good for New York and the world.
In 1865, the Cornell University bill raised fierce debate and discontent in the New York State Legislature. John H. Selkreg, a New York State senator at the time, chronicled Andrew Dickson White’s account of the legislative struggle in his 1894 publication, Landmarks of Tompkins County, New York.