Cornell Fellows has been developed through the vision of Cornell Trustee Dean Riesen, a 1979 alumnus of the College. During his senior year at Cornell, he completed an internship which totally changed his life in unexpected and positive ways. The internship experience under One Course At A Time ultimately laid the groundwork for a highly successful and fulfilling career. Now an accomplished real estate developer, Mr. Riesen sought to provide a similar experience for outstanding Cornell students and proposed the Cornell Fellows Program to the Board of Trustees in February 2004.
More than 200 students have completed fellowships since the first Cornell Fellow returned to campus in February 2005. Fellows benefit immensely from exposure to professional role models and exemplary leaders in future career fields while having the opportunity to participate in the transforming experience of the workplace. At the same time, corporations, agencies, and institutions benefit from working with students educated in the liberal arts tradition. The ambitious and currently-trained Cornell Fellows complete substantial short-term projects and also provide a revealing look at a prospective employee for the fellowship host. As a result of the fellowship, Cornell Fellows are more competitive candidates for future employment and for quality graduate programs, and they are better prepared to assume leadership roles in their future career fields.