Quotes of Cornell

12 07 2012

A few thoughts from prominent folks about the school Far Above Cayuga:

“The university of Mr. Cornell, a really noble monument of his munificence, yet seems to rest on a misconception of what culture truly is, and is to be calculated to produce miners, or engineers, or architects, not sweetness and light. -Matthew Arnold, Preface of Culture and Anarchy, 1869 (Bishop 177)

“Columbia cannot grow, or at any rate cannot grow rapidly…unless it shall, at least to some extent, modify its plan of instruction in a more or less distant imitation of Harvard or of Cornell University”. Columbia President Frederick Barnard, 1870.

“[Cornell Vice-President Albert] Russel is a man whose nonreligious convictions are very pronounced, giving the university an air of positive irreligion. The decadence of the students is positive testimony to the evil effects of free inquiry.” – Lyman Abbott, editor of the Christian Union, 1881 (Bishop 215)

“I see, or think I see evidence of a growing disposition to drift away from the original intentions of Mr. Cornell in the founding of a purely non-sectarian university…I look to you [A. D. White] to protect my investment in Cornell from the common enemy.” Cornell Trustee Hiram Sibley to A.D. White, 1888.

“The University was sadly in need of reorganization and refitting.” – Benjamin Ide Wheeler, in reference to Cornell in the mid-1880s, quoted in 1902. (Bishop 259)

“The graduate students are the crown of the University, and Cornell cannot afford to neglect them for the sake of any others…” – David Starr Jordan, 1888

“The cry of the horse leech is modest and attenuated beside the stupendous greed and the insatiable clamor of this favored institution.” – New York Press, Nov. 1892

“[Cornell was] better endowed than any institution in the land, yet never did anything.” U.S. Sec. of Agriculture James Wilson, 1904 (Bishop 366)

“There is no university in the country in which freedom of thought and of speech is more firmly entrenched in tradition and in policy.” – Prof Henry A. Sill to Carl Becker, 1917

“[Cornell students] are good because it is too much trouble to be bad.” Romeyn Berry, Alumni News, 1926

“No more do the better students chant their Alma Mater in a happy trance; they sing from the side of the mouth, with the air of cynical priests of old Egypt.” – Alumni News, 1931.

“Cornell is a center of revolutionary communistic activity.” – State Sen. John J. McNaboe, 1936

“CORNELL GOES BOLSHEVIST” – Headline, New York World-Telegram, 1944

“We must retain private initiative and management in certain important fields, and certainly some of it in higher education.” -Edmund Ezra Day, 1948.

“At a time when Cornell was becoming a multicultural place, the Board of Trustees has thrown a dart into our celebration.” – Prof. Kenneth McClane, on the decision or Trustees to not divest South African investments, 1989

“[My wish for Cornell] is that it will continue to thrive and reach new heights … welcoming men and women of every color and creed, whatever their social standing or pecuniary condition. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 2003

“I am grateful to Cornell. I have seen the good work you have done in every stage of life.” – Bill Clinton, 2004 Convocation speech.

“My memories are strong about this place; important. And the two times I have been here for sustained periods have always been extraordinary.” – Toni Morrison, 2009.

“I would venture to say that the students at [Bush staffer Monica] Goodling’s law school at Regent University are far more impressive than those at the Cornell agriculture school — the land-grant, non-Ivy League school Keith [Olbermann] attended.”-Political Pundit Ann Coulter, 2009

“I got an excellent education, and that’s all I got from it…If I had to do it over again, or I had known what Cornell had been like, I never would have gone there.” Political pundit Bill Maher ’78, in a 2012 podcast


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