The Program for Andrew D. White Professors-at-Large was established in celebration of Cornell's first centenary, and named in honour of its first President, with whom the idea originated. President White expressed concern lest Cornell's first faculty, "remote from great cities and centres of thought and action...lose connection with the world at large, save through books...'bred in and in' and become provincial in spirit." To help insure this would not happen, he proposed "the establishment of a system of non-resident professors," selected for their distinguished achievements in diverse disciplines and walks of life, who would visit the University periodically over extended periods of time. Under such a system, "the resident professors would be thrown into close relations at once with the special professors. Their views would be enlarged, their efforts stimulated, their whole life quickened."
“Cornell University's Andrew Dickson White Professors-at-Large Program has been called one of the truly imaginative projects in American universities, bringing a steady stream of the world's foremost scholars, thinkers, and artists to the Cornell campus. Being named an Andrew Dickson White Professor-at-Large ranks among an academic's most eminent distinctions and honors.“
Fuller details of the work of Professors-at Large, and a listing of past and present holders can be found at adwhiteprofessors.cornell.edu.