Diane Murrell

Written by Diane Murrell

Modified & Updated: 02 Jun 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett

Source: Britannica.com

Cornell University is a prestigious institution known for its rich history, academic excellence, and breathtaking campus. Established in 1865, it is a member of the Ivy League and has consistently ranked among the top universities globally. Located in Ithaca, New York, Cornell boasts a diverse and vibrant community, fostering a culture of intellectual curiosity and innovation. With its picturesque gorges, stunning architecture, and world-class facilities, the university provides an inspiring environment for students and faculty alike. As we delve into 19 fascinating facts about Cornell University, you'll gain a deeper understanding of its legacy, impact, and the unique experiences it offers to those fortunate enough to be a part of its storied history.

Key Takeaways:

  • Cornell University, founded in 1865, is a prestigious Ivy League institution with a sprawling 745-acre campus, diverse academic programs, and a rich legacy of notable alumni and groundbreaking research.
  • Nestled in the Finger Lakes region, Cornell University embodies a spirit of inclusive learning, sustainability, and public engagement, inspiring scholars and innovators to shape a brighter future.
Table of Contents

Cornell University was founded in 1865.

Located in Ithaca, New York, Cornell University was established in 1865 and has since evolved into a prestigious institution renowned for its academic excellence and groundbreaking research.

The university was founded by Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White.

Ezra Cornell, a prominent businessman, and Andrew Dickson White, a respected educator and diplomat, joined forces to establish Cornell University, laying the foundation for a legacy of innovation and educational advancement.

Cornell University is a member of the Ivy League.

As a member of the esteemed Ivy League, Cornell University upholds a tradition of academic distinction, attracting students and faculty from around the world to engage in a rigorous and enriching educational experience.

The university's motto is "I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study."

This profound motto encapsulates Cornell University's commitment to providing a diverse and inclusive learning environment, where individuals are empowered to pursue knowledge across a wide spectrum of disciplines.

Cornell University's campus spans 745 acres.

Nestled amidst the picturesque natural beauty of the Finger Lakes region, Cornell University's expansive campus provides a stunning backdrop for scholarly pursuits and a vibrant community life.

The university is home to seven undergraduate colleges and seven graduate divisions.

With a comprehensive array of academic offerings, Cornell University provides students with diverse pathways to explore their intellectual passions and cultivate expertise in their chosen fields of study.

Cornell University boasts an impressive roster of notable alumni.

From Nobel laureates and Pulitzer Prize winners to prominent leaders in various industries, Cornell University has nurtured a network of accomplished alumni who have made significant contributions to society.

The university's library system is one of the largest academic research libraries in the world.

Comprising over 8 million printed volumes and a vast collection of digital resources, Cornell University's library system serves as a cornerstone of scholarly exploration and knowledge dissemination.

Cornell University is renowned for its research initiatives.

With a steadfast commitment to pioneering research across disciplines, Cornell University has spearheaded groundbreaking discoveries and innovations that have had a profound impact on global progress and development.

The university houses the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

As a world-renowned center for avian research and conservation, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology stands as a testament to the university's dedication to advancing environmental stewardship and biodiversity preservation.

Cornell University's architecture is characterized by its stunning natural surroundings and iconic buildings.

From the historic Sage Hall to the awe-inspiring McGraw Tower, Cornell University's architectural landscape harmoniously blends with the surrounding natural beauty, creating an inspiring and tranquil campus environment.

The university's commitment to sustainability is exemplified through various initiatives and programs.

From sustainable campus operations to innovative research endeavors focused on environmental sustainability, Cornell University actively champions efforts to address pressing ecological challenges and promote responsible stewardship of natural resources.

Cornell University's diverse student body represents a rich tapestry of backgrounds and cultures.

Embracing inclusivity and cultural diversity, Cornell University fosters a dynamic and vibrant community where individuals from varied walks of life come together to engage in meaningful dialogue and collaborative learning experiences.

The university's athletic teams, known as the Big Red, compete in Division I of the NCAA.

With a proud tradition of athletic prowess, Cornell University's student-athletes embody the spirit of determination and sportsmanship, contributing to the university's storied legacy in collegiate sports.

Cornell University's commitment to public engagement and outreach extends to local and global communities.

Through service-learning initiatives, community partnerships, and global outreach programs, Cornell University actively seeks to make a positive difference in society by addressing pressing social issues and fostering sustainable development.

The university's renowned School of Hotel Administration is a trailblazer in hospitality education.

With a legacy of excellence spanning over nine decades, the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University has set the standard for hospitality education and industry leadership, shaping the future of global hospitality management.

Cornell University's commitment to the arts is reflected in its vibrant cultural offerings and creative endeavors.

From world-class performances at the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts to innovative exhibitions at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University celebrates artistic expression as an integral part of the academic experience.

The university's commitment to entrepreneurship and innovation is exemplified through initiatives such as the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business.

With a focus on fostering entrepreneurial thinking and impactful leadership, the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business empowers students to drive positive change and pursue bold ventures in the ever-evolving global marketplace.

Cornell University's enduring legacy of academic excellence and visionary leadership continues to shape the future of education and research, inspiring generations of scholars and innovators to pursue knowledge and make a meaningful impact on the world.

Nestled amidst the natural splendor of the Finger Lakes region, Cornell University stands as a beacon of academic excellence and innovation. Founded in 1865 by Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White, the university has evolved into a renowned institution that embodies a spirit of intellectual exploration and inclusive learning. With a sprawling campus spanning 745 acres, Cornell University is home to seven undergraduate colleges and seven graduate divisions, offering a diverse array of academic programs and research opportunities. The university's commitment to academic distinction is underscored by its membership in the Ivy League, a prestigious association of leading academic institutions. Boasting a rich legacy of notable alumni, groundbreaking research initiatives, and a steadfast dedication to sustainability and public engagement, Cornell University continues to inspire and empower individuals to pursue knowledge, embrace diversity, and shape a brighter future for generations to come.


In conclusion, Cornell University stands as a bastion of academic excellence, innovation, and rich history. From its picturesque campus to its diverse student body, Cornell offers a unique and enriching educational experience. The university's commitment to research, community engagement, and sustainability underscores its global impact. As a renowned institution with a legacy of producing leaders across various fields, Cornell continues to shape the future through its unwavering dedication to knowledge, collaboration, and progress.


What makes Cornell University unique?Cornell University's unique blend of academic rigor, stunning natural surroundings, and diverse student body sets it apart. Its commitment to fostering interdisciplinary collaboration and engagement with real-world issues further distinguishes it as a leader in higher education.

What are some notable achievements of Cornell University?Cornell University has made significant contributions to various fields, including groundbreaking research in agriculture, engineering, and the sciences. Additionally, its commitment to sustainability and community outreach has garnered widespread recognition and accolades.

If you're hungry for more captivating facts about Cornell University, satisfy your curiosity by exploring the intriguing world of its renowned library system. From the vast collections housed within the Cornell University Library to the fascinating stories behind Mann Library, there's always more to learn. And while you're at it, why not take a delightful detour and uncover the surprising origins of everyone's favorite comfort food?

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