Dr. S. Douglas Cornell, President of Mackinac College, served for twelve years as Executive Officer of the National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C. A Yale graduate, he was a member of the American Physical Society and a Fellow of the American Association for The Advancement of Science. He outlined the "Mackinac Concept of Education" for the Charter Class in September 1966:
We have before us the greatest adventure of our lives. We are out to build a concept of education to meet the challenge of an age that is characterized by its breathtaking opportunity and its appalling danger. It is not easy to meet such a challenge. It will take the best in each of us. It will take work, thought, care, and inspiration. But it is a task where no one need be left out. There is a place for everyone who will rise to a new maturity of motive and action. Those who do will stand tall as men and women who have taken on the adventure of grappling with the toughest challenge that history has yet presented to the human race.
We are bent upon the performance of a mighty task. Behind it lies a reasoned assessment of the central issues of the modern world, and of all that the times demand of the educated man or woman.
But much more: the conviction that men can learn responsibility as well as absorb knowledge; the belief that leadership grows from responsibility accepted and from a well-furnished mind; the certainty that there is more to man than chemistry; the faith that the human spirit, informed by a fire and a wisdom beyond human reach alone, can exploit for the common good the opportunities, and resolve in the common interest the problems, created by man's intellectual growth and technological mastery.
Can we learn together to take the best in the human mind and spirit, to infuse it with the essence of the knowledge and wisdom of he ages, to kindle it with the spark of high purpose, and thus to produce men and women with the intellectual grasp, the carelessness of self, the understanding of issues, and the lion hearts to match the times in which we live? Are we equal to that task?
We are out to do nothing less."
The Inauguration of Mackinac College
Dr. S. Douglass Cornell, President of Mackinac College (left) with the Catholic Bishop of Marquette, the Most Reverend Thomas L. Noa and the Episcopal Bishop of Northern Michigan the Right Reverend George R. Selway