February 21, 2006

February 21, 1979: Cornell's Zip Code Saves Time, Effort

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On February 21, 1979, The Sun ran a feature about Cornell’s private zip code: 14853. The article was written by Robert Gavrich ’81.

“Cornell’s exclusive 14853 zip code, now over four years old, has made life easier for Ithaca postal workers and University employees.

“Until 1974, the University used Ithaca’s 14850 number, but following schools such as Berkeley and Princeton, Cornell officials decided that a private zip code number would save time and effort.

“According to Victor DiNicola, administrative support services manager, departments receive mail at least one half hour earlier than they used to as a result of the changed number.

“Since mail can now be delivered directly to University offices, the number of Day Hall mail clerks has reduced sharply, DiNicola said.

“The Ithaca Post Office also saves time since Cornell’s mail arrives already separated from other letters, according to John Tyrell, Ithaca Post Office manager of customer services.

“The Ithaca Post Office also requires fewer mail sorters, he said.

“The new system creates some confusion though, Tyrell said. About one third of Cornell’s mail is incorrectly zip coded 14850, which causes extra work and slight delays, he said.

“Tyrell said much of the confusion is due to Cornell students moving on and off campus. They don’t tell their correspondents that their zip code has changed, he added.

“The city post office has been fighting this problem by stamping incorrectly coded letters. ‘Please advise correspondents to use zip code’ or perhaps more diplomatically, ‘your letter has been delayed due to incorrect zip code.'”


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