Student walks the ped mall outside of Cole Library.

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"Since we’re close-knit with the community we work with the Mount Vernon schools and I helped coach the Science Olympiad team. For the past 23 years it’s been Ames schools that have won and gone to nationals, but this last year Mount Vernon won and went to nationals. To help take down this big rival was a big moment for everyone, including me because I’m from Iowa and did Science Olympiad."-Kelly Mickael '18

Report to the community: Hilltop to Main Street

Cornell College is proud to be part of one of America’s Coolest Small Towns. Mount Vernon and Cornell are so deeply intertwined it’s hard to imagine one without the other. Here are the ways we engaged with the community during the 2017-18 year.


  • Though Cornell is a not-for-profit tax-exempt organization, the college paid approximately $56,000 in Linn County property taxes and over $50,000 in city sewer upgrade fees
  • Cornell is one of the biggest financial supporters of the Mount Vernon-Lisbon Community Development Group


  • 278 employees makes Cornell College the largest employer in Mount Vernon
  • Founded in 1853, Cornell is Mount Vernon’s oldest employer
  • 92 Cornell students and 24 faculty-staff volunteered for community events through the Mount Vernon-Lisbon Community Development Group (Source: CDG)
  • 3 students served on Mount Vernon-Lisbon Emergency Medical Services
  • More than 700 Cornell students volunteered 17,347 hours of their time for community service, most of it locally, for a value of $428,297 in 2017-2018
  • 6,800 visitors came to Mount Vernon for Homecoming (1,000), Commencement (approximately 1,700), and campus visits (4,100)
  • 17,000 fans attended 85 home Cornell athletic events
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"I’m president of Tri Beta on campus, which is our biology honor society. We started a fundraiser for a scholarship for a Mount Vernon High School senior who’s going into the sciences in college. Events like that I’ll remember because we’re trying to help the community and reach out to the community and put our name out there."-Libby Anderson '18



  • Cornell and the Mount Vernon Community School District have an agreement to share Cornell’s football and baseball facilities and the school district’s softball facility


  • Cornell’s Cole Library operates as Mount Vernon’s public library
  • City residents made up 45% of Cole Library’s active users and check out 52% of the materials
  • The city pays 8% of the Cole Library budget
  • Cole Library is open 97.5 hours a week when Cornell is in session and 52 hours a week during the summer
  • Cole Library hosted 366 community events and activities


  • Cornell Lunch Buddies paired 53 Cornell students with Washington Elementary students
  • 13 Cornell students provided weekly tutoring at Mount Vernon Middle School


  • Bon Appétit dining services are open to the community (and available for catering)

Events and activities

  • The Small Multi-Sport Center hosted more than 30 events involving Mount Vernon-Lisbon communities, including sports camps
  • The college offered 34 free guest lectures and performances, 22 free music concerts, five theatre productions, 20 art exhibits, and 48 events through the chaplain's office
  • Cornell hosted the One Course Summer Institute for high school students, offering four for-credit courses
  • Students held the annual Relay For Life with the support of 18 community businesses, raising over $17,500
  • Cornell students hosted four blood drives that collected 130 units of blood
  • Bon Appétit paid local farmers nearly $254,379 for farm-to-fork purchases. If all local purchasing is included the total is approximately $500,000
  • Bon Appétit holds an annual public Harvest Festival celebrating local food producers 
  • New Student Orientation included a night in Uptown for students to learn about businesses
  • Admission held two progressive dinners in Uptown for visiting high school counselors