David Baltimore, President of Caltech, writes in the Institute's annual report:
The year 2001 will be forever marked by the September 11 terrorist attacks that left horror in our hearts. The Caltech community found solace in the thought that we work for something terrorism cannot touch: the enlightenment produced by discovery and learning. We were profoundly reminded that it is our charge to serve humanity by expanding the knowledge that conquers ignorance.
(see also FragileBeauty, 15 Sep 2001)
Later in his commentary Baltimore reports that he searched but could find no "mission statement" for the Institute, or any other brief description of its core business. In consultation with colleagues, therefore, he came up with:
The mission of the California Institute of Technology is to expand human knowledge and benefit society through research integrated with education. We investigate the most challenging, fundamental problems in science and technology in a singularly collegial, interdisciplinary atmosphere, while educating outstanding students to become creative members of society.