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Birth of the College


The tri-dorm area, circa early 1970s.

Arland Christ-Janer, who became president in 1961, presided over a major expansion of the college prior to leaving in 1967 to become president of Boston University. The expansion of the campus under Christ-Janer included construction of The Commons, and Pauley, Dows, Tarr, and Rorem residence halls. The college also received a $1.4 million grant from the Ford Foundation under Christ-Janer to facilitate a restructuring of the curriculum. By the late 1960s, enrollment, which had averaged around 600 from 1937-1946, reached nearly 1,000.

Samuel Stumpf succeeded Christ-Janer and presided over a period of tremendous political and social upheaval on campus, during which students occupied Old Sem and protested the war in Vietnam. Succeeding Stumpf was Philip Secor, whose 1974-to-1984 administration saw the opening of the first coed residence halls and the introduction of a bold new academic calendar.

In 1977 a proposal was put before the faculty, students, and board of trustees to change the academic calendar from a traditional semester system to something innovative. The idea was to adopt a calendar system in which students would take, and faculty would teach, a single course each month. The faculty voted by a margin of 2 to 1 in favor of One-Course-At-A-Time, the term used thereafter to describe the Cornell academic calendar. The new system began in the fall of 1978.

Secor dedicated the Norton Geology Center, the renovated Brackett House, South Hall, College Hall, and West Science Center during his tenure. Secorís successor, David Marker, who served from 1984 to 1994, computerized the campus. Marker dedicated the Richard and Norma Small Multi-Sport Center during his administration, and also presided over renovations of The Commons and of Bowman-Carter Hall.

Computer station in The Commons, 1999.

Cheerleader Patricia Eames Schweninger í61 shouts for victory during the 1960 homecoming football game (1961 Royal Purple).

Leslie H. Garner Jr. took office in 1994 as the 14th president of the college. Garner has presided over the installation of a campuswide fiber-optic network, renovation of Law, Merner, McWethy, and Armstrong halls, and construction of Youngker Hall, Kimmel Theatre, and the Marie Fletcher Carter Pedestrian Mall. A strong advocate of volunteerism, Garner formed the Office of Volunteer Services in 1995, which was responsible for engaging three-quarters of the student body in service.

Cornell remains an independent liberal arts institution affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Since 1913 Cornell has been fully accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. It was a charter member, in 1958, of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest. It joined the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in 1997.

From its inception, Cornellís mission has been to promote liberal learning, leadership, and service, values that characterize the collegeís approximately 10,000 living alumni.

Members of Phi Kappa Nu performing volunteer service in 1996.

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