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Cornell University is an American private Ivy League and federal land-grant research university located in Ithaca, New York. Founded in 1865 by Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White, the university was intended to teach and make contributions in all fields of knowledge — from the classics to the sciences, and from the theoretical to the applied. These ideals, unconventional for the time, are captured in Cornell's motto, a popular 1865 Ezra Cornell quotation: "I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study."
The university is broadly organized into seven undergraduate colleges and seven graduate divisions at its main Ithaca campus, with each college and division defining its own admission standards and academic programs in near autonomy.
Since its founding, Cornell has been a co-educational, non-sectarian institution where admission is offered irrespective of religion or race.
COMPUTING AND INFORMATION SCIENCE
COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
COLLEGE OF ARCHITECTURE, ART, AND PLANNING
COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURE AND LIFE SCIENCES
COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING
CORNELL INSTITUTE FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS
SCHOOL OF HOTEL ADMINISTRATION
COLLEGE OF HUMAN ECOLOGY
NEW YORK STATE SCHOOL OF INDUSTRIAL AND LABOR RELATIONS
SAMUEL CURTIS JOHNSON GRADUATE SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT
DEPARTMENT OF MILITARY SCIENCE
SCHOOL OF CONTINUING EDUCATION AND SUMMER SESSIONS
COLLEGE OF VETERINARY MEDICINE
WEILL CORNELL GRADUATE SCHOOL OF MEDICAL SCIENCES
WEILL CORNELL MEDICAL COLLEGE
WEILL CORNELL MEDICAL COLLEGE (QATAR)
The history of Cornell University begins when its two founders Andrew Dickson White and Ezra Cornell, met in the New York State Senate in January 1864. Together, they established Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, in 1865. The university was initially funded by Ezra Cornell's $400,000 endowment and by New York's 989,920-acre allotment of the Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862.
However, even before Ezra Cornell and Andrew White met in the New York Senate, each had separate plans and dreams that would draw them toward their collaboration in founding Cornell: White believed in the need for a great university for the nation that would take a radical new approach to education; and Cornell, who had great respect for education and philanthropy, desired to use his money "to do the greatest good." Abraham Lincoln's signing of Vermont Senator Justin Morrill's Land Grant Act into law was also critical to the formation of many universities in the post-Civil War era, including Cornell.
Cornell University has been accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education since 1921 and was most recently reaccredited in 2011.
Cornell’s official Statement of Accreditation Status is maintained at the Middle States website.
At Cornell, there are 21 programs that have specialized or professional accreditation.
- Greek life
Cornell hosts a large fraternity and sorority system, with 70 chapters involving 33% of male and 24% of female undergraduates.Alpha Phi Alpha, the first intercollegiate Greek-letter organization established for African Americans, was founded at Cornell in 1906.
Cornell's connection to national Greek life is strong and longstanding. Many chapters are among the oldest of their respective national organizations, as evidenced by the proliferation of Alpha-series chapters. The chapter house of Alpha Delta Phi constructed in 1877 is believed to be the first house built in America solely for fraternity use. Philanthropy opportunities are used to encourage community relations, for example, during the 2004–05 academic year, the Greek system contributed 21,668 community service and advocacy hours and raised $176,547 in charitable contributions from its philanthropic efforts. Generally, discipline is managed internally by the inter-Greek governing boards. As with all student, faculty or staff misconduct, more serious cases are reviewed by the Judicial Administrator, who administers Cornell's justice system.
You can find more information here: Greek chapters
Vegetarian or Vegan? Locavore or farm-to-table gourmand? Need the flexibility to eat kosher, halal, gluten-free, or avoid specific allergens? We've got more than 30 dining facilities that include a la carte and all-you-can-eat options, all across campus. You can keep it homey with House Dinners on West Campus or chat up Faculty Fellows as a first-year on North Campus.
You can stop by our vegetarian cafe or the kosher dining hall. Or you can take your taste buds for a special treat during one of our dining events, such as our Diwali dinner, or our annual sustainable food celebration, the Harvest Dinner.
You can find more information here: Meal plans
First-year undergraduates live with their classmates on North Campus. The Carol Takton Center serves as the hub of activity, Faculty Fellows seem to be around every corner, and residence hall advisors are never far away.
As an upper-level student, you can home in on the communities you've found and thrive in most. Move to West Campus, a fraternity or sorority, or a co-op. You can even stay on North Campus in a themed residence hall, or venture off-campus to the apartments and rental homes in Collegetown or the greater Ithaca area.
A graduate or professional student? We have family-friendly apartments, shared apartments, and cooperative housing options to help you strike the right balance between campus and home.
You can find more information here: Where to live
- Student Organizations
With over 1,000 student organizations on Cornell's campus, you can certainly find something to do, day or night! Our staff is here to assist you, whether you would like to find that perfect group to join or if you'd like to start a new organization.
Student organization registration is coordinated by the office of Student Leadership, Engagement & Campus Activities (SLECA). SLECA is located on the 5th floor of Willard Straight Hall, and staff members are available to work with student leaders to register their groups, assist with event planning, team building, or other issues related to their student organization. Though most information can be found on This website, students are welcome to stop by the SLECA office to learn more about student organizations, how to get involved, or how to start a new student organization.
- A Meal Plan for Grad Students
Formerly called "Meals by Design," the Graduate Student Meal Plan is a customized debit account that you can access with your Cornell University ID Card, to be used at any Cornell Dining eateries, card-reading vending machines, and convenience stores.
Cornell University is committed to diversity and inclusiveness with the goal of providing an accessible, usable and welcoming environment for faculty, staff, students and visitors with disabilities.
Cornell University Library stands at the center of intellectual life on campus. Expert librarians are available in person—and online 24/7—to help navigate our world-class collections and assist with papers, exam prep, and long-term projects. We're a home away from home, with warm, inviting spaces for solo study and high-tech, flexible spaces for group work. Students and faculty agree: The Library is an indispensable partner in study, teaching, and research.
Cornell was built on the concept that what is happening in the world matters to and shapes what happens in our labs and classrooms. The idea at the heart of our land grant is to make sure what we do at the university and in the field matters to the world and shapes it for the better.
There's only one way to find out what life can be like at Cornell: dip into some of our students' uncut and uncensored Blogs.