Cornell University is an American private Ivy League and federal land-grant research university located in Ithaca, New York. The university was founded in 1865 by Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White. From the very first beginning university has been intended to teach and contribute in all the fields of knowledge including from classic to the sciences. The university is broadly organized into seven undergraduate colleges and seven graduate divisions at its main Ithaca campus, with each college and division defining its own admission standards and academic programs in near autonomy. it operates a cooperative extension outreach program in every county of New York and receives annual funding from the State of New York for certain educational missions. The student body consists of nearly 14,000 undergraduate and 7,000 graduate students from all 50 American states and 122 countries. Cornell is a non-profit organization governed by a 64-member board of trustees consisting of both privately and publicly appointed trustees. Cornell is a large, primarily residential research university with a majority of enrollments in undergraduate programs. Cornell offers undergraduate curricula with international focuses, including the Africana Studies, French Studies, German Studies, Jewish Studies, Latino Studies, Near Eastern Studies, Romance Studies, and Russian Literature majors. In 2014, Cornell ranked 9th domestically and 11th internationally in the CWUR rankings. The Cornell University Library is the 11th largest academic library in the United States, ranked by number of volumes held. The Cornell University Press, established in 1869 but inactive from 1884 to 1930, was the first university publishing enterprise in the United States.
Cornell University was founded on April 27, 1865, as the result of a New York State (NYS) Senate bill that named the university as the state's land grant institution. Senator Ezra Cornell offered his farm in Ithaca, New York as a site and $500,000 of his personal fortune as an initial endowment. Fellow senator and experienced educator Andrew Dickson White agreed to be the first president. During the next three years, White oversaw the construction of the initial two buildings and traveled around the globe to attract students and faculty. The university was inaugurated on October 7, 1868, and 412 men were enrolled the next day. Cornell continued to be a technological innovator applying its research to its own campus as well as to outreach efforts. Since 1894, Cornell has included state-funded statutory colleges. Cornell has had active alumni since its earliest classes and was one of the first universities to include alumni-elected representatives on its Board of Trustees. Cornell expanded significantly, particularly since World War II, with its student population in Ithaca growing to its current count of about 20,000 students. The faculty also expanded, and by the century's end, the university had about 3,000 faculty members.
Today the university has wide-ranging programs and offers more than 4,000 courses. Since 2000, Cornell has been expanding its international programs. In 2004, the university opened the Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar. Cornell's main campus is on East Hill in Ithaca, New York, overlooking the town and Cayuga Lake. When the university was founded in 1865, the campus consisted of 209.5 acres (0.85 km²) of Ezra Cornell's roughly 300 acre (1.2 km²) farm. The main campus is marked by an irregular layout and eclectic architectural styles, including ornate Collegiate Gothic, Victorian, Neoclassical buildings, and less decorative international and modernist structures. The more ornate buildings generally predate World War II. Because the student population doubled from 7,000 in 1950 to 15,000 by 1970, grandiosity was neglected in favor of less expensive and more rapidly constructed styles. The university is home to several buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, including the Andrew Dickson White House, Bailey Hall, Caldwell Hall, Comstock Hall, Morrill Hall, and Deke House. At least three other historic buildings—the original Roberts Hall, East Robert Hall and Stone Hall—have also been listed on the NRHP, despite their demolitions in the 1980s. Cornell has been rated "A-" by the 2011 College Sustainability Report Card for its environmental and sustainability initiatives.
Cornell is a non-profit organization governed by a 64-member board of trustees consisting of both privately and publicly appointed trustees. Three trustees are appointed by the Governor of New York; one seat is reserved for the eldest lineal descendant of Ezra Cornell; two members from each of the fields of agriculture, business and labor in New York state; eight trustees to be elected from among and by the alumni of the university; two trustees to be elected from among and by the faculty of the university at Ithaca and Geneva; two trustees to be elected from among and by the membership of the university's student body at Ithaca (one undergraduate and one graduate student); and one trustee to be elected from among and by the nonacademic staff and employees of the university at Ithaca and Geneva, 37 trustees at large and finally, the Governor, Temporary President of the Senate, Speaker of the Assembly, and president of the university serve in an ex officio voting capacity.
Cornell operates on a 4–1–4 academic calendar with the fall term beginning in late August and ending in early December, a three-week winter session in January, and the spring term beginning in late January and ending in early May. For the undergraduate class of 2018, Cornell admitted a total of 6,014 students out of 43,041 applicants, for an acceptance rate of 14%. Cornell's College of Arts and Sciences admitted less than 14% of applicants for the class of 2015. For the students enrolling in the class of 2016, 91% were in the top 10% of their class. Of those admitted, the average SAT Verbal score was 720, while the average SAT Math was a 750. Also, 92% of admitted students for the Class of 2011 were in the top 10% of their graduating high school class. Cornell offers undergraduate curricula with international focuses, including the Africana Studies, French Studies, German Studies, Jewish Studies, Latino Studies, Near Eastern Studies, Romance Studies, and Russian Literature majors. In addition to traditional academic programs, Cornell students may study abroad on any of six continents.