There are certain things we all know to be true about Cornell: It’s really cold all the time, there’s a tall famous clock tower, and we make our own delicious ice cream. But upon further investigation, I’ve found that there are so many more extra fun (and weird) facts about Cornell that for some reason have flown under the radar. Here are just a few fun facts about our school that you might not have known:
1The chicken nugget was invented at Cornell.
When Robert C. Baker, who is now a food science professor in CALS, was a student, his research led to many poultry related innovations. He is also responsible for a revolutionary way to bind breading to chicken and he created the chicken and turkey hot dogs and turkey ham. We walk the same streets and take classes in the same lecture halls where the magic happened in the 1950s, creating everyone’s favorite meme-worthy childhood snack: the chicken nugget.
2We were the first Ivy League university to admit women.
Girl Power! Cornell first began to admit women in 1870 while many universities across the United States were still closing the doors to women applicants. Cornell decided to be a trendsetter and defy the discriminatory pattern of the admissions process. Go Cornell!
3The Kroch Rare Manuscript Library has one of the first copies of Charlotte’s Web.
E.B. White was a Cornellian himself, and it’s very exciting to have a classic of children’s literature right at our fingertips in college. If you ever get tired of your college level reading (which we all do), head down to Kroch to relive your first years of reading with the old copy of Charlotte’s Web. With this book in hand, you’ll feel like a kid again.
4Kroch Library also houses a double-sided copy of the Gettysburg Address.
This copy is one of five known copies written by former president and famed rhetorician Abraham Lincoln himself, and of that five was the only one accompanied by a letter from Lincoln transmitting the manuscript. To be honest, (as honest Abe would want us to be) this is one of our coolest historical fun facts.
5Cornell has a Wilder Brain Collection, which preserves brains of many notable individuals.
Our Department of Psychology maintains the collection. It includes the brain of Edward Ruloff, a philologist and murderer who possessed one of the largest recorded brains (and namesake of Collegetown staple Ruloff’s), as well as Helen Hamilton Gardener, a suffragist who worked to prove the equality of the sexes. The brains are preserved in Uris Hall, so if you’re ever in the area and in the mood to see some old brains, you know where to go.
6Cornell has an underground tunnels system.
There’s the tunnel between Uris and Olin libraries, but only librarians have access to it, which is a bit of a bummer. In addition, there’s also a tunnel that allows you to get from Teagle Hall to Barton Hall. So for those winter days, you can get from one to the other without stepping outside into the cold air. If you’re going to check this route out, maybe go with a friend, because underground Cornell might not be as pretty and is probably much scarier than walking on top of the pretty Cornell grounds.
7Motto Magazine ranked Cornell’s motto#1 in the “Top 10 Motto List.”
This motto is of course Ezra Cornell’s dream to “found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study,” or, “any person any study” for short. Ezra’s promise rings true on our campus and is definitely something that is unique to Cornell. It is also the only motto in the Ivy League that is not in Latin.