Cornell University Opens For The First Term

Cornell University welcomed its first 412 students to the rural campus overlooking Lake Cayuga in Ithaca, New York, on October 7, 1868.

Cornell is one of the original institutions funded as a result of landmark federal legislation, the Morrill Act of 1862. Named for Vermont Congressman Justin Morrill, this legislation offered states grants in the form of federal lands proportional to their population to establish public institutions (colleges) in agriculture, mechanic arts (engineering), military science, and classical studies. Proceeds from the sale of these federal lands were meant to build and operate the new colleges.

The land-grant colleges also provided greater access to college for women. Women were formally admitted to Cornell in the spring of 1872.

Cornell University, located in Ithaca, New York, USA, is a private university and a member of the Ivy League. Cornell is one of two private land grant universities, and has four state-supported statutory or contract colleges. Its two medical campuses are located in New York City and Education City, Qatar.

Cornell is often considered as one of the top universities in the world, with consistent top 15 rankings. Cornell counts more than 255,000 living alumni, 28 Rhodes Scholars and 40 Nobel laureates affiliated with the university as faculty or students. The student body consists of over 13,000 undergraduate and 6,000 graduate students from all fifty states and one hundred and twenty-two countries. Cornell produces more graduates that go on to become doctors than any other university in the USA. It also produces the largest number of graduates in the life sciences who continue for Ph.D. degrees, and is ranked fourth in the world in producing the largest number of graduates who go on to pursue Ph.D.s at American institutions. Research is a central element of the university's mission; in 2006 Cornell spent $649 million on research and development. In 2007, Cornell ranked fifth among universities in the U.S. in fund-raising, collecting $406.2 million in private support.