About Cornell

Cornell College has been changing lives and changing educational norms since 1853.

Located in Mount Vernon, Iowa, Cornell was the first college west of the Mississippi to grant women the same rights and privileges as men, and, in 1858, to award a degree to a woman.

In 1978 Cornell faculty adopted the One Course At A Time curriculum, transforming the way teaching and learning happen at Cornell. With the 1996 publication of Loren Pope’s Colleges That Change Lives, Cornell’s life-changing education was formally recognized. Cornell continues to be recognized with each new edition.

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Cornell Values

Our Mission and Core Values guide the way we teach and learn. We emphasize the following educational priorities and outcomes by embedding them in every course and in opportunities beyond the classroom.

A'amer Farooqi


Students will integrate and apply knowledge from a focused area of study as well as a broad general education which includes disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives in the arts, humanities, sciences, and social sciences.

“Acquisition of knowledge is at the heart of the college experience. It is why colleges exist. Knowledge empowers our graduates to have productive careers, make civic contributions, and lead fulfilling lives.”
A’amer Farooqi
Professor of economics and business

Jennifer Rouse


Students will respond to  the complexities of contemporary and enduring problems using information literacy tools, research skills, creative thinking, and analysis.

“One of the most important things we do as a society is create new knowledge.  Step one in this process is being curious and asking questions—which, in turn, pushes us to think critically and learn deeply. Inquiry is everything.”
Jennifer Rouse
Consulting librarian for the arts and humanities

Ann Cannon


Students will evaluate evidence; interpret data; and use logical, mathematical, and statistical problem-solving tools.

“We all make decisions every day, from the small and mundane to those with far reaching consequences.  Reasoning, the process of taking information and using it to come to appropriate conclusions, is vital to making good decisions.”
Ann Cannon
Professor of Statistics

Kenny Capesius ’16


Students will speak and write clearly, listen and read actively, and engage with others in productive dialogue.

“Communication is a vital glue for society. Without it, we are a group of people who happen to live in the same area, but who have no deeper sense of connection.”
Kenny Capesius ’16
La Motte, Iowa

Michelle Ngirbabul ’16

Intercultural literacy

Students will connect with diverse ideas and with people whose experiences differ from their own and that may be separated from them by time, space, or culture.

“Intercultural literacy enhances and compliments the liberal arts education I receive at Cornell by challenging the ways I usually think and interpret the world and its people.”
Michelle Ngirbabul ’16

Andrew Crow ’16

Ethical behavior

Students will recognize personal, academic, and professional standards and act with integrity.

“The benefits of ethical behavior are enormous to the individual. It promotes a sense of integrity, self-concept, self-esteem, and self-fulfillment.”
Andrew Crow ’16
Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin

Peter Catchings ’16


Students will collaborate with others and contribute in their communities and the larger world.

“Every summer I share my acquired knowledge and skills with the youth of Mount Vernon as a basketball camp instructor. When our season starts up in the winter you can see those kids lining the stands. It is an awesome feeling to be a citizen and role model in such an amazing town.”
Peter Catchings ’16
Naperville, Illinois

Angelica Hall ’15


Students will discover and prepare for the range of opportunities and challenges that await them beyond their college experience.

“I believe having a strong sense of vocation is synonymous with having a strong vision and plan for your future and being ready and able to adapt to any obstacles that may present themselves.”
Angelica Hall ’15
Las Vegas, Nevada

Karen Clifton


Students will respect the ways physical, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual well-being may contribute to a balanced life.

I observe several habits and practices that provide well-being and balance to my life. This includes preparing meals in advance, making exercise part of my day, getting out of the office at lunchtime, and taking time each evening for reading or meditation. And I love my standing workstation.
Karen Clifton
Facilities Services Office Coordinator