Campus Call for Free Expression Participating President:
Grant H. Cornwell, President
“The German existentialist philosopher Karl Jaspers wrote that “the truth begins with two,” meaning that the quest for knowledge and understanding is necessarily a dialogic enterprise. Ideas, theories, hypotheses, opinions, and statements of fact can only be tested and refined in a context of free expression. Whether through contest or collaboration, advancing knowledge and understanding on any topic requires a diversity of points of view exchanged without fetters, constraints, or suppression.” — Grant H. Cornwell
Campus Call for Free Expression Planned Activities
Free expression will be the focus of PresidentCornwell’s new student convocation speechfor the 2023-24 academic year on August 21, 2023.
About the President
Grant Cornwell was named Rollins’ 15th president following eight years as president of The College of Wooster, in Wooster, Ohio, where he championed initiatives in diversity and global engagement, collaborative research, and experiential learning. Prior to his Wooster presidency, Cornwell served as vice president of the university and dean of academic affairs at St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York, for five years. For the previous 16 years, he was a member and chair of St. Lawrence’s philosophy department and dean of St. Lawrence’s hallmark First-Year Program. The curiosity and exploration at the core of liberal learning remain driving forces in his approach to higher education.
Since his arrival in 2015, Cornwell has grown Rollins’ reputation as a distinguished liberal arts college. Under his leadership, applications, enrollment, and the diversity of the student body have been the highest in the College’s history. He has engaged the entire college community in an extensive strategic planning process, including an ambitious capital projects plan that is changing the face of the campus as facilities are constructed or renovated to facilitate delivery of programs focused on student success in the 21st century. He is forging the transformation of the Hamilton Holt School evening program to meet the needs of a new generation of learners. He has advanced the College’s commitment to excellence in teaching by relaunching the Endeavor Center for Faculty Development. He has also shepherded an ambitious fundraising campaign raising over $290 million, anchored by the single largest outright gift–$40 million–in Rollins’ history.
Cornwell is nationally recognized for his work in defining liberal learning in a global environment and continues to write regularly about freedom, democracy, diversity, and global citizenship. A past member of the board of directors of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) and former chair of the Association of American Colleges and Universities’ (AAC&U) Presidents’ Trust, he has also served on the boards of AAC&U and Teach for America, the Council on Foreign Relations’ Global Literacy Advisory Board, the American Council on Education’s Commission on International initiatives, and the national advisory panel for the Association of Governing Boards’ project on Faculty and Institutional Governance. While at The College of Wooster, he chaired the Great Lakes Colleges Association’s board of directors and served as president of the North Coast Athletic Conference (Division III). He is a co-author of “An Education for the Twenty-First Century: Stewardship of the Global Commons,” which appeared in AAC&U’s Liberal Education, among other publications.
Cornwell holds bachelor’s degrees in philosophy and biology from St. Lawrence University and master’s and doctoral degrees in philosophy from the University of Chicago. In 2017, Cornwell was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from The College of Wooster, and in 2020, an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from St. Lawrence University.
In addition to holding the George D. and Harriet W. Cornell Chair of Distinguished Presidential Leadership, Cornwell is a member of the Rollins faculty, serving as a professor of philosophy.
TheCampus Call for Free Expression is a commitment by a diverse group of college presidents to urgently spotlight, uplift, and re-emphasize the principles of critical inquiry and civic discourse on their campuses. The Campus Call is centered on a coordinated set of presidential and campus activities focused on free expression that collectively amplify higher education’s role in preparing young people to be the empowered citizens our democracy needs.
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