Comprehensive research university in Ithaca, New York, U.S., a traditional member of the Ivy League. It is both publicly and privately supported. Founded as a land-grant university under the Morrill Act, it was privately endowed by Ezra Cornell (1807–74), a founder of Western Union. Nonsectarian from the beginning, it offered an exceptionally broad curriculum when it opened in 1868. It was the first U.S. university to be divided into colleges offering different degrees. Agricultural science has long been important at Cornell; other strong programs include the life sciences, business management, engineering, the social sciences, and the humanities. Professional and graduate schools offer programs in law, medicine, and the arts and sciences.
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