October 19, 2010

The Men & Women Who Built Cornell

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As a result of the Industrial Revolution and the Morrill Acts of 1862 and 1890, states throughout the nation established land-grant universities – institutions of higher learning that would educate students about agriculture, science and engineering as an alternative to classical studies.  On April 27, 1865, the New York State Senate established its land-grant institution. Senator Ezra Cornell offered five hundred-thousand dollars and his farm in Ithaca, New York; Senator Andrew Dickson White agreed to be university president; and the university opened its doors to its first students on Oct. 7, 1868.

Attracting world-renown scientists from world-renown schools, such as Prof. Louis Agassiz from Harvard, Cornell University quickly became a source of profound research and education. The university became the first university to light its grounds, using its innovative research to utilize hydro-electricity, and in subsequent years, the university produced cutting-edge science, not to mention, numerous nobel laureates. Its faculty innovated existing science, changed age-old technologies, and through their students, revolutionized the fields of entomology and ornithology. Today, we present a special edition of our weekly feature, The Scientist. We’d like to note that, although the consequences of these scientists can be seen everywhere on campus – from the extensive gardens of The Plant Science Building to the collections of Comstock Hall – the importance of these scientists can be felt throughout the scientific community.

Original Author: A. Drew Muscente