Cornell is a privately endowed research university and a partner of the State University of New York. As the federal land-grant institution in New York State, we have a responsibility—unique within the Ivy League—to make contributions in all fields of knowledge in a manner that prioritizes public engagement to help improve the quality of life in our state, the nation, the world.
Founded in 1865 and opened on October 7, 1868, Cornell has been described as the first American university. Co-founders Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White wanted Cornell to be open to all students, regardless of sex, race, religion, nationality, or ability to pay. Their egalitarian and practical vision of higher education, revolutionary in 1865, still informs the guiding principles of the university in the 21st century.
Cornell’s combination of joint identities is unique among leading institutions of higher education—it is the federal land-grant institution of New York State, a private endowed university, a member of the Ivy League (or Ancient Eight), and a partner of the State University of New York. The university is dedicated to its original mission of accessibility and opportunity, outreach, and public service.