Founded in 1865, on the traditional homelands of the Gayogo̱hó:nǫɁ (the Cayuga Nation), Cornell University is a private university with a public mission. As the federal land-grant institution in New York State, Cornell has a responsibility – unique within the Ivy League – to make contributions in all fields of knowledge in a manner that prioritizes public engagement to help improve the quality of life in the state, the nation, and the world. Purposeful discovery, free and open inquiry and expression, a community of belonging, exploration across boundaries, changing lives through public engagement, and respect for the natural environment constitute Cornell’s core values.
Cornell offers more than 80 formal major fields and interdisciplinary majors that cross traditional departmental boundaries, and 122 minors to undergraduate students. Firmly grounded in more than 150 years of excellence in teaching and learning, research, and engagement: A Cornell education is rigorous—every aspect is geared to prepare students to meet the challenges of the moment and improve the world. Public service is a pillar of Cornell academics; it not only enriches the community—it enriches your understanding of how ideas work in the real world.
Students at Cornell develop intercultural skills through engaging with diverse campus groups, with community partners, and within the classroom. The Cornell community recognizes people with diverse backgrounds and experiences bring great value to education, discovery, creativity, and engagement which is reflected in our long history of diversity and inclusion. At Cornell you’ll find over 1,700 student clubs and organizations, NCAA Division I athletics and intramural leagues, expansive botanic gardens and scenic overlooks, and more. Both the campus and the surrounding area offer endless indoor and outdoor activities, year-round.
With deep academic roots in the college town of Ithaca, in New York City, and an ever-expanding presence in communities across New York State, the nation and world, Cornellians have unparalleled and unlimited opportunities for learning, engagement, experience and impact.
Fun Fact: On October 8, 1997, Cornellians noticed a large pumpkin impaled on the spire of McGraw Tower. The pumpkin, its placement and purpose shrouded in mystery to this day, remained on the tower — 173 feet in the air — for 158 days.