Cornell University is located on 2,300 acres of beautiful land in the rural city of Ithaca, New York. As the land grant university for the state, Cornell offers its students a comprehensive selection of disciplines to study in addition to hands-on opportunities that might not be available at other large universities, such as in agriculture, labor and ecology. The areas surrounding campus include a friendly and food-centric college town, scenic views and plenty of outdoor recreational sites, especially the famed Ithaca gorges.
Offering an extensive list of over 80 areas of study for students to major in, there is something for everyone at Cornell University. The main campus features 8 undergraduate and 4 graduate and professional schools that allow students to continue on to advanced degrees right in Ithaca. Additionally, there are two medical schools in New York City, a marine lab in Maine, an art and architectural school in Rome and a medical college in Qatar to give students a host of opportunities for their classroom knowledge to be applied to authentic experiential learning environments.
History of Cornell University
Cornell University was founded in 1965 by Ezra Cornell and Andrew White. The two battled in the Senate over where to send the money from the Morill Land Grant Act. This lead to the creation of Cornell University in an effort to apply the money to one school with sufficient land to establish a college campus that met the demands set forth by the Act. Though they were initially met with significant opposition from other college leaders and religious leaders, Cornell and White continued with negotiations and were successful in securing the grant and founding the university.
Though Cornell was established later than other Ivy League colleges, the university was a pioneering influence for some of the more modern hallmarks of institutions of higher learning. The inaugural class at Cornell University was the largest in history up to that point with 412 students. The college was also one of the first American schools to enroll women alongside men, admitting its first female student in 1870. The elective system, in which students can choose their own course of study, was also introduced at Cornell University, and later adopted by other colleges and universities.
In the 20th century, Cornell University struggled with race relations on campus. Despite admitting African-American students since 1884, minority enrollment was low until the late 1960s when it became a focus of the university. Initially, there was racial tension, leading to the burning of the Africana Studies building and then a takeover of the student union building by some Afro-American students. This was a turning point for the leaders of the college in race relations on campus, and led to an overhaul of the campus judicial system and board of trustees. It also led the state of New York to create the Henderson Law, which requires campuses to set rules in order to maintain public order.
Campus Life at Cornell
Cornell University boasts more than 1,000 student organizations, including NCAA Division I athletic teams. With the rural setting of the campus, the college community is self-sustaining, providing plenty for students to do at Cornell and within the town of Ithaca without needing to travel any further. Despite having thousands of students on campus, the college has a smaller feel due to the setting and camaraderie of community.
In addition to traditional clubs and sports, Greek Life offers a community of peers for those who pledge. About a third of undergraduate students join a fraternity or sorority, and have the opportunity to participate in leadership development and service projects. Some students also have the option to live with their Greek family in a shared residence.
Ezra Cornell felt strongly when founding Cornell University that anyone should be able to be educated there, regardless of background or income. That mantra holds true today, with about half of all students who attend Cornell receiving the support of financial aid. Many of these students are awarded a significant portion of aid in grant money, meaning that they are not saddled with enormous debt upon graduation. In addition to grants, Cornell offers work-study options and reduced loans.