Student walks the ped mall outside of Cole Library.

sample image

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 and to offer cultural, educational, and athletic events for the public. When the global pandemic reached Mount Vernon, Cornell worked with local schools and the city in responding and we made it a guiding principle to take Mount Vernon and Lisbon into consideration with our decisions to re-populate campus. Here ways in which we engaged with our community during the 2019-20 year.

Pandemic response

  • One of our guiding principles is understanding we have an impact on the wider Mount Vernon-Lisbon, Cedar Rapids, and Iowa City community, and taking that impact into consideration in our decision-making

  • Formed a joint task force with Mount Vernon Community School District to share brainpower about reopening, discuss exposure mitigation strategies, and collaborate on mass purchases of supplies

  • Formed a joint task force with the City of Mount Vernon to share and discuss public health information and strategies


  • Though Cornell is a not-for-profit tax-exempt organization, the college paid $52,500 in Linn County property taxes
  • Cornell is one of the biggest financial supporters of the Mount Vernon-Lisbon Community Development Group


  • 302 employees make Cornell College the largest employer in Mount Vernon

  • Founded in 1853, Cornell is Mount Vernon’s oldest employer

  • 153 alumni live in Mount Vernon and Lisbon

  • 8 students served on Mount Vernon-Lisbon Emergency Medical Services

  • 4 students served on the Mount Vernon Fire Department



  • 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 39% of our active users and accounted for 59% of our total circulation (even though the city pays under 12% of the Cole Library budget)


  • 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 were open to the community (and available for catering)