Student walks the ped mall outside of Cole Library.

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Junior Allison Krull was one of 62 Lunch Buddies last year at Washington Elementary School. Her buddy, Landon, says he and Allison have lots in common: they both love the Chicago Cubs, like to read, and dislike coffee.

Report to the community: Hilltop to Main Street

Cornell College and its students are proud to be part of the Mount Vernon community. In fact, President Jonathan Brand wrote a white paper titledThe Value of our Home Community—Mount Vernon.” Here are the ways we engaged with our home community during the 2018-19 year.


  • Though Cornell is a not-for-profit, tax-exempt organization, the college paid approximately $55,000 in Linn County property taxes and over $38,000 in city sewer upgrade fees
  • Cornell is one of the biggest financial supporters of the Mount Vernon-Lisbon Community Development Group


  • 301 employees makes Cornell College the largest employer in Mount Vernon
  • Founded in 1853, Cornell is Mount Vernon’s oldest employer
  • 158 alumni live in Mount Vernon and Lisbon
  • 96 Cornell students and 27 faculty-staff volunteered for community events through the Mount Vernon-Lisbon Community Development Group (Source: CDG)
  • 5 students served on Mount Vernon-Lisbon Emergency Medical Services
  • More than 700 Cornell students volunteered 19,217 hours of their time for community service, most of it locally, for a value of $488,688
  • 6,200 visitors came to Mount Vernon for Homecoming (600), Commencement (approximately 1,700), and campus visits (3,900)
  • 21,000 fans attended 130 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 are what 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 charges a modest upkeep fee for turnkey use of football, tennis, and indoor and outdoor track facilities, and is thrilled when high schools use them


  • Cornell’s Cole Library operates as Mount Vernon’s public library
  • City residents made up 40% of Cole Library’s active users and checked out 55% of the materials (even though the city pays under 10% 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 328 community events and activities


  • Cornell Lunch Buddies paired 62 Cornell students with Washington Elementary students
  • 16 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 37 free guest lectures and performances, 28 free music concerts, four theatre productions, 18 art exhibits, and 39 events through the chaplain's office
  • Cornell offered three summer youth programs: the One Course Summer Institute, the Dance Intensive, and the Flute & Clarinet Camp 
  • Students held the annual Relay For Life with the support of 8 community businesses, raising over $13,500
  • Cornell students hosted four blood drives that collected 102 units of blood
  • Bon Appétit paid local farmers $411,000 in certified farm-to-fork purchases. If all local purchasing is included, the total is approximately $500,000.
  • Bon Appétit donated 10,000 meals through its food recovery program.
  • 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