Cornell University

Once called "the first American university" by educational historian Frederick Rudolph, Cornell University represents a distinctive mix of eminent scholarship and democratic ideals. Adding practical subjects to the classics and admitting qualified students regardless of nationality, race, social circumstance, gender, or religion was quite a departure when Cornell was founded in 1865.

Today's Cornell reflects this heritage of egalitarian excellence. It is home to the nation's first colleges devoted to hotel administration, industrial and labor relations, and veterinary medicine. Both a private university and the land-grant institution of New York State, Cornell University is the most educationally diverse member of the Ivy League.

On the Ithaca campus alone nearly 20,000 students representing every state and 120 countries choose from among 4,000 courses in 11 undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools. Many undergraduates participate in a wide range of interdisciplinary programs, play meaningful roles in original research, and study in Cornell programs in Washington, New York City, and the world over.

In keeping with the founding vision of Ezra Cornell, our community fosters personal discovery and growth, nurtures scholarship and creativity across a broad range of common knowledge, and engages men and women from every segment of society in this quest. We pursue understanding beyond the limitations of existing knowledge, ideology, and disciplinary structure. We affirm the value to individuals and society of cultivation and enrichment of the human mind and spirit.

Our faculty, students, alumni, and staff strive toward these objectives in a context of freedom with responsibility. We foster initiative, integrity, and excellence, in an environment of collegiality, civility, and responsible stewardship. As the land-grant university for the state of New York, we apply the results of our endeavors in service to our alumni, the community, the state, the nation, and the world.

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Explore Cornell's Campus


The City of Ithaca

The Cornell University campus is bordered by the quaint city of Ithaca, which boasts an array of shops, more restaurants per capita than New York City proper, and beautiful upstate scenery, from gorges and waterfalls to some of the state’s best hiking and nature trails.

Ithaca (pop. 30,000) is located in the Central Finger Lakes Region of New York State at the southern tip of 40-mile-long Cayuga Lake. The city is 227 miles from New York City, 231 miles from Philadelphia and 251 miles from Toronto.

Ithaca is home to the Ivy League Cornell University, four State Parks, including Taughannock Falls – a waterfall with a higher vertical drop than Niagara Falls – and a magnitude of galleries, museums, theatres, and cultural attractions. Tompkins County abounds with outdoor activities to suit any enthusiast.

The local slogan "Ithaca is Gorges" refers to the 100+ gorges and waterfalls located within 10 miles of downtown. The largest, 215-foot Taughannock Falls (pronounced Tuh-GAN-ick) is three stories taller than Niagara. Along with the falls, gorges and beautiful lakefront, the surrounding county offers access to 28,000 acres of public forestland for hiking, mountain biking and outdoor recreation. Popular activities in Ithaca include dining at restaurants, visiting museums and galleries, attending theater and enjoying live music.

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