Nearly 150 years later, Cornell remains true to the vision of its founders and continues to innovate. The four-year programs in architecture, hotel administration, and industrial and labor relations were the first of their kind in the country. A pioneer of electrical engineering and veterinary medicine in the nineteenth century, Cornell explores new disciplines like nanotechnology, biomedical engineering, and fiber science and apparel design in the twenty-first century. With an eye on the future, plans are underway to build Cornell NYC Tech, an applied sciences campus in New York City.
Cornellians past and present are linked by a sense of history and tradition. We all share a common experience that transcends class year, whether it’s passing the swim test, appreciating the natural beauty of campus, parading on Dragon Day, or just hiking up Libe Slope on a snowy winter day. I’m reminded of this Big Red bond each time I see a Cornell sweatshirt or baseball cap hundreds of miles from Ithaca, usually worn proudly by a parent, alumnus, or alumna.
Being a Cornellian means joining a network that includes more than 250,000 alumni, families, and friends around the world. Their loyalty and enthusiasm (often on display at hockey games) can rival that of nearly any other university, leading some to call Cornell the “Ivy League school with a Big Ten heart.” Engaged alumni and friends continue to shape Cornell throughout their lives by volunteering their time, talent, and treasure. Cornell isn’t just four years; it’s forever.
Opportunities abound for current students to interact with alumni, young and old. Alumni mentors can be found via student organizations, career networking events, or as guest speakers on campus. During winter and spring break, regional alumni associations around the world often include students in programming like Cornell Cares Day, an international day of service. Students should proactively seek out these opportunities and take advantage of the alumni network whenever possible. Cornell parents and friends are certainly welcome to participate in the alumni associations and events as well.
Welcome to the Cornell family. You should feel proud to join this legacy. I encourage new students (and families) to learn about and explore this university that will play a major role in their lives. Cornell’s incredible past is unique from that of other institutions of higher learning. When it was founded as a coeducational, nonsectarian university for any person and any study, Cornell changed the face of collegiate education in the United States and in the world. Knowing about and appreciating this home away from home will make time spent here even more rewarding.