Cornell University


High above Cayuga Lake in Tompkins County sits a university that is consistently ranked as one of the top institutions of higher learning in the United States. Opened in 1868, Cornell University started in one building and with only 412 students. Today, it includes over 700 buildings, 14 colleges and schools, and enrolls over 20,000 students.

The university was the brainchild of New York Senator Ezra Cornell. Cornell had grown up poor, but had made a substantial fortune in the telegraph business. Having been self-educated, Ezra Cornell saw the need for colleges that would provide an education in practical subjects, such as agriculture, applied sciences, veterinary medicine, and engineering. Cornell collaborated with fellow New York Senator, Andrew White, to obtain founding for the new University, through the Morrill Land Grant Act. Cornell also donated a sizable portion of his own money towards the project.

Located in one of Central New York’s most picturesque natural settings, students and visitors to the campus can stroll along two gorges, Cascadilla and Fall Creek, and take in the spectacular views of New York’s largest Finger Lake. From “Far above Cayuga’s Waters,” Cornell University is another important stop along New York’s Path Through History.

Photos Courtesy of:
The History Center of Tompkins County
Library of Congress