Fun Facts About Cornell 

December 13, 2022
By AdmissionSight

Fun Facts About Cornell

Cornell at a glance

Looking at Cornell University, you can understand that this is a school of deep history. With all that history, it is no surprise that there are a lot of fun facts about Cornell. The year 1865 marked the beginning of Cornell University, a private higher education institution. It is located in a rural area and encompasses a total area of 745 acres, It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 15,503 students (as of fall 2021). It follows an academic calendar that is divided into semesters.

People can find more than a thousand student organizations on the campus of Cornell University, which is in Ithaca, New York. These organizations include everything from the Big Red Marching Band to the International Affairs Society. On the north side of campus, first-year students live together. The university also provides housing options for upperclassmen and graduate students; however, most students live off campus. There are over 60 fraternity and sorority chapters and a thriving Greek life at Cornell University.

front view of Cornell University surrounded by trees

There are 35 varsity sports at Cornell that compete at the NCAA Division I level and for the Ivy League. The Cornell Big Red is well-known for its dominance in men’s lacrosse and men’s wrestling; the university’s ice hockey team is one of its most successful athletic programs.

Even though all graduates receive a degree from Cornell University, each of Cornell’s seven undergraduate colleges and schools selects its students for enrollment and is responsible for recruiting and supervising its faculty. The College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences are the two undergraduate colleges at Cornell with the greatest number of students.

Cornell in numbers

Cornell’s statistics show this university’s value and why people would like to enter it. In a list of 443 national universities, Cornell University comes in at position #17. About $67,900 is the median starting salary for graduates of Cornell University, regardless of the field of study they pursued. The acceptance rate at Cornell University is only 9%, making it one of the most competitive in the country.

Cornell Chimes at the Cornell campus

Cornell University has a student-to-faculty ratio of 9:1, and 54.7% of the institution’s classes have fewer than 20 students. The retention rate for freshmen, which is an indicator of how satisfied students are, is 97% on average. The undergraduate student body at Cornell University has a total enrollment of 15,503 (fall 2021), with male students making up 46% of the student body and female students making up 54%. At this particular institution, 47 percent of the student body resides in housing owned or operated by the college, while 53 percent of the student body resides off campus.

Facts about Cornell

1. The university’s founders almost chose Syracuse to host Cornell University.

One of the more interesting fun facts about Cornell is that it almost ended up not being in Ithaca. Politician Andrew Dickson White advocated for the university to be built on the hill in Syracuse because it was the city’s transportation hub. However, Ezra Cornell had a negative experience in Syracuse; when he was a teenager, some locals stole his wages from him. Therefore, rather than construct the school in Syracuse, Ezra decided to do so in Ithaca, New York, his hometown.

2. The Cornell campus encompasses thousands of acres of land.

Information regarding Cornell shows that the primary campus of Cornell University spans 745 acres and provides sweeping views of Ithaca and Cayuga Lake. In addition, the university owns the nearby Cornell Plantations, which encompass a total area of 4,300 acres and include both gardens and forest. In addition, Cornell possesses campuses in the city of New York as well as multiple campuses located in other countries, one of which is a medical campus located in Education City, Qatar.

3. The celebration of Dragon Day is set ablaze.

One of the fun facts about Cornell that is sought after by students and alumni alike is Dragon Day. Dragon Day is celebrated at Cornell every year in March. Students in their first year of architecture class construct a massive dragon. They will set it ablaze in the Arts Quad after parading it throughout the rest of the campus.

4. The only public institution in the Ivy League is Cornell University.

One of the fun facts about Cornell that not a lot of people realize is that Cornell University is the only public university in the Ivy League. The state of New York contributes financially to Cornell University in four of its seven schools.

Among them are the New York State College of Veterinary Medicine, the School of Industrial and Labor Relations, the College of Human Ecology, and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Each year, educational institutions receive more than $130 million in funding to support teaching and research.

5. The school has produced a large number of famous graduates.

Jane Lynch, Bill Maher, Bill Nye the Science Guy, Keith Olbermann, Christopher Reeves, Ann Coulter, Huey Lewis, Harry Chapin, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg are some famous people who graduated from Cornell. Other notable alumni include Keith Olbermann. It is also worth noting that Cornell University can claim ties to 43 Nobel laureates, all of whom served on the faculty or graduated from the university.

6. Cornell University was established in the year 1865.

Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White established Cornell University as “an institution where any person can find instruction in any study.” In addition to establishing Cornell University, Ezra Cornell established Western Union. White was a politician in New York and served as the school’s first president for nearly twenty years. He held this position for nearly twenty years.

7. Cornelliana

Anything related to Cornell’s unique traditions, legends, and lore is called “Cornelliana.” Though there are many stories about the school, the most well-known of these fun facts about Cornell is about the statues of Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White. The legend states that if a virgin walks through the Arts Quad at midnight, both statues will come down from their pedestals and meet in the middle of the quad to shake hands.

8. Cornell has a section dedicated to the study of poisonous plants.

There is a Weed Garden and a Poisonous Plants Garden at Cornell Plantations, both of which contain a variety of plants that are harmful to livestock. Cannabis had been a part of these gardens for decades before the 1970s. The school then removed it due to the plant’s popularity among students.

9. Slope Day is responsible for bringing well-known musicians to Ithaca.

Slope Day is a celebration that features live music at the end of the spring semester. This is one of the fun facts about Cornell that is well-loved because this day is packed with famous musicians. Ludacris, Kendrick Lamar, Drake, Pussycat Dolls, Ben Folds, Kanye West, O.A.R., Snoop Dogg, and The Game are some artists who have performed at Slope Day in recent years.

10. There is a student group for about anything and everything you can think of.

There are over 900 student organizations at Cornell, and that number does not include the two honor societies that are kept a secret: Sphinx Head and Quill and Dagger. Both of these organizations have been around since the late 1800s. The Glee Club at Cornell University was established in 1868, making it the student organization with the longest history.

Cornell University campus

As you learn more fun facts about Cornell, to enter this university, you should also prepare for your college admission. If you wish for guidance in your journey, AdmissionSight will help you through the competitive admissions process. With their team of top experts, you can surely get accepted to the top universities in the world. Set up an appointment today and get the best help getting into university.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up now to receive insights on
how to navigate the college admissions process.