When the name Cornell University comes up in conversation, people who’ve been there usually exclaim, “It’s so pretty there,” and after a visit, it is easy to agree. The campus sits on founder Ezra Cornell’s farm, overlooking Cayuga Lake, in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. It covers 745 acres with classic ivy-covered buildings and contemporary research labs.
Students are proud of the fact that the university has been open to all kinds of students from the beginning. By 1870, Cornell was the first major university in the eastern United States to admit women. And it led the way in welcoming students of varying ethnic backgrounds as well. The nation’s first African-American fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha, was founded here in 1906.
Whenever my schedule got way too crazy and it seemed like I wasn’t going to make it, I took the time to put everything in perspective. Sitting at the top of Libe Slope and taking in the breathtaking view of Ithaca and Cayuga Lake, or standing in the middle of the suspension bridge and jumping up and down to make the whole thing shake while watching water cascade over the falls, was the best cure for anything that was getting you down.
In fact, the university offers seven undergraduate colleges: the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; the College of Architecture, Art and Planning; the College of Arts and Sciences (the traditional liberal arts college); the College of Engineering, the School of Hotel Administration; the College of Human Ecology; and the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. Students in all the colleges come from a wide range of backgrounds, and from all fifty states and more than 120 countries. It’s a high energy, eclectic mix that gives the schooll its distinctive flavor.
The twenty on-campus libraries provide the best places for studying in whatever kind of atmosphere suits you best. The two most popular libraries are Mann and Uris. Mann is located on the Ag quad and is most frequented by students in Ag and Hum Ec. Uris Library is located on the corner of the Arts quad looking down the hill, affectionately known as Libe Slope. Uris can get pretty social at night, but within the library, the A.D. White Library, with its balconies and alcoves, provides a classic academic aura for studying. It’s nice and quiet studying among the books in the stacks. The best-known spots in Uris are the Fishbowl and the Cocktail Lounge where wine isn’t served, but wines may be studied.
Seven undergraduate colleges; 4,000 courses to choose from; more than eighty majors. After four years here, anyone is prepared to be a success in the real world. The opportunities provided to students are unique and unlike those available anywhere else. More than one alumni has called it “the best place on earth to be.”