Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

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Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Type Statutory
Established 1874
Dean Kathryn J. Boor
Academic staff
Undergraduates 3,365[2]
Postgraduates 936
Location Ithaca, New York, U.S.

The New York State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (abbreviated to CALS or Ag School) is a statutory college through the State University of New York (SUNY) system at Cornell University, a private university located in Ithaca, New York.[3] With about 3,100 undergraduate and 1,000 graduate students enrolled, it is the third-largest college of its kind in the United States and the second-largest undergraduate college or school at Cornell. It is the only school of agriculture in the Ivy League. The undergraduate business program at CALS is one of only three such Ivy League programs accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) including the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business, Cornell University's Dyson Applied Economics and Management program, and Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration.[4][5]

As part of Cornell's land-grant mission, the college jointly administers New York's cooperative extension program with the College of Human Ecology and it runs both the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, in Geneva, New York, and the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station, in addition to many other research facilities around the state.[6]

For 2007-08, CALS total budget (excluding the Geneva Station) is $283 million, with $96 million coming from tuition and $52 million coming from state appropriations. The Geneva Station budget was an additional $25 million.[7]


Deans of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Liberty Hyde Bailey 1903–1913
Beverly T. Galloway 1914–1916
Albert Russell Mann 1917–1931
Carl Edwin Ladd 1931–1943
William Irving Myers 1943–1959
Charles Edmund Palm 1959–1972
W. Keith Kennedy 1972–1978
David L. Call 1978–1995
Daryl B. Lund 1995–2000
Susan Armstrong Henry 2000–2010
Kathryn J. Boor 2010–present

Cornell's first president, Andrew Dickson White, had little enthusiasm for agricultural education, and the Board of Trustees were likewise without much enthusiasm. Agriculture could not be ignored, however, because Ezra Cornell was deeply committed, and the provisions of the Morrill Land Grant Act required it. After much difficulty, George Chapman Caldwell was recruited in 1867 as Professor of Chemistry (Agricultural Chemistry). He was the very first professor of what was to become the Cornell University.[8][9]

The university opened in September 1868 with professor Caldwell, the nominal leader of a group of three professors with interests touching upon agriculture. In addition to Caldwell, there was Albert N. Prentiss, professor of botany (with some reference to crops), and Dr. James Law, professor of veterinary medicine. The Faculty of Agriculture consisted of this informal group of three and a professor of agriculture of the moment.[9]

The arrival of Isaac P. Roberts, as professor of agriculture, from Michigan, in 1874, finally brought credibility to agriculture at Cornell, and the Department of Agriculture was established in 1874. During the period of 1879-1887, Cornell president Charles Kendall Adams gradually changed the Trustees seemingly hostility toward agriculture. In June 1888, the "informal" departments, including agriculture taught by Isaac Roberts, agricultural chemistry taught by George Caldwell, botany taught by Albert Prentiss, entomology taught by Henry Comstock, and veterinary medicine taught by James Law, were combined to form the Cornell College of Agriculture.[9]

Also in June 1888, horticulture, which had played a minor role in botany until it was discontinued by the trustees in 1880, was reestablished as an independent department in the college, upon the recruitment of Liberty Hyde Bailey as professor and department head. Roberts was appointed Director of the college and dean of its faculty while retaining his role as professor of agriculture and heading a department of agriculture within the college of the same name.[9]

Legislation establishing the New York State College of Agriculture at Cornell passed the state legislature and was signed by the governor in May 1904. The legislation passed in spite of ″violent″ opposition and intense lobbying led by Chancellor James Roscoe Day of Syracuse University acting for Syracuse and six other universities and colleges in New York.[9]

The Department of Agriculture became a college in 1888. In 1904, eminent botanist and horticulturist Liberty Hyde Bailey, along with New York State farmers, convinced the New York Legislature to financially support the agriculture college at Cornell, a private university that had been established in 1865 as New York's land-grant institution. Thus, it became a statutory college, and changed its name from the New York State College of Agriculture in 1904 to the New York State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in 1971.[10]

In 1898, the State Legislature established a separate New York State College of Forestry at Cornell.[11] However, the school ran into political controversy, and the Governor vetoed its annual appropriation in 1903. In 1910, Liberty Hyde Bailey, the Dean of Cornell's Agriculture College, succeeded in having what remained of the Forestry College transferred to his school. At his request, in 1911, the legislature appropriated $100,000 to construct a building to house the new Forestry Department on the Cornell campus, which Cornell later named Fernow Hall. That Forestry Department continues today as the Department of Natural Resources.[12] In 1927, Cornell established a 1,639-acre (6.63 km2) research forest south of Ithaca, the Arnot Woods.

In 1900, the college began offering a reading course for farm women. In 1907, the Department of Home Economics was created within college. In 1919, the Department of Home Economics became a school within the Agriculture College. Finally, in 1925, the Home Economics department became a separate college, although both colleges continued to work together to provide cooperative extension services.

The World Food Prize has been awarded[by whom?][when?] for the sixth time to a Cornellian. Dr. Andrew Colin McClung, M.S. 1949, was awarded the World Food Prize for helping to transform a large area of Brazil into fertile land. His recommendations regarding key agricultural inputs made this transformation possible.[13]

Later in 1958-1963 at Cornell University, field grown maize was reported to have much greater leaf photosynthetic rates of 40 u mol CO2/square meter.sec and was not saturated at near full sunlight (Hesketh and Musgrave 1962; Hesketh and Moss 1963). This higher rate in maize was almost double those observed in other species such as wheat and soybean, indicating that large differences in photosynthesis exist among higher plants. History of C3 : C4 photosynthesis research__[14][15]


The Agriculture Quadrangle[edit]

Agriculture Quad viewed from Bradfield Hall, Ithaca's West Hill and Cayuga Lake in the background

The Agriculture Quadrangle (Ag Quad) contains buildings which house many of the programs in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. It is a quadrangle east of the Arts Quad and west of the College of Veterinary Medicine. The oldest building still standing on the quad is Caldwell Hall, opened in 1913.[16] The Plant Science Building opened in 1931 and Warren Hall, across from Plant Science, opened in the next year, The art deco style Mann Library on the eastern end of the quad, connecting Warren Hall on the north to the Plant Sciences Building on the south, opened in 1952. Completed in 1990, Kennedy and Roberts Halls, featuring an archway that connects the two halls, extend along the western face of the quad, having replaced the original Roberts Hall (1906). The Computing and Communications Center (1912, formerly Comstock Hall) stands between Roberts and Caldwell Halls.[17] These buildings are owned by New York State, which pays for their construction and maintenance.

Other facilities[edit]

The college operates the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, in Geneva, New York, 50 miles (80 km) northwest of the main campus. The facility comprises 20 major buildings on 130 acres (0.5 km²) of land, as well as more than 700 acres (2.8 km²) of test plots and other lands devoted to horticultural research.[18] It also operates three substations, Vineyard Research Laboratory in Fredonia, Hudson Valley Laboratory in Highland and the Long Island Horticultural Research Laboratory in Riverhead.

The Dilmun Hill Student Farm is a student-run farm on Cornell University's campus. The facility uses sustainable agricultural practices. It is located near the intersection of Judd Falls Road and Route 366 (Dryden Road).[19]


The undergraduate programs lead to the Bachelor of Science in at least one of the 23 currently offered majors. The college also offers graduate degrees in various fields of study through the Graduate School, including the M.A.T., M.L.A., M.P.S., M.S., and Ph.D.


The Undergraduate Business Program at Cornell University (or Applied Economics and Management program) ranked 3rd Nationally in BusinessWeek's Best Undergraduate Business Programs for 2012.[20] In 2009, DesignIntelligence magazine ranked Cornell's undergraduate and graduate landscape architecture programs as 4th and 3rd respectively, in the nation.

Social Media Lab[edit]

The Social Media Lab is a laboratory of Cornell University's Communication Department. This lab being one of the Communication Department's primary research lab for undergraduate and graduate students focuses on how people interact in CMC and on online communities. Ongoing studies include deception on Facebook, analysis of Grindr profile pictures, and disclosure analysis on Facebook.

The faculty and students working in the Social Media Lab are interested in the way people live, behave, think and love online. The Social Media Lab investigates a variety of behaviors that take place online, including language processes, patterns of deception, self-presentation in social networking sites, and the formation of attributions and relationships. The Social Media Lab coined the term "Butler Lie" in 2009. The butler lie is described as lies that politely initiate and terminate instant messaging conversations. ("Gotta go, boss is coming!") Like butlers, they act as social buffers, telling others that we are at lunch when we are just avoiding them.[21] The lab is a state-of-the-art facility, and is supported by funding from the National Science Foundation, the United States Department of Defense, and Cornell University.[22] The Social Media Lab is run by professor Natalie Bazarova (professor Jeff Hancock, a former faculty advisor of SML, is now a professor at Stanford University).

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Charter of Cornell University
  4. ^ Applied Economics and Management/Cornell
  5. ^ "AACSB Accredited Schools Listing". Retrieved 2015-10-19. 
  6. ^ Research and Extension Facilities
  7. ^ Retrieved 2007-09-12.
  8. ^ "The University Faculty : Cornell University". 1907-09-05. Retrieved 2015-10-19. 
  9. ^ a b c d e "About Us | Soil and Crop Sciences Section" (PDF). 2015-01-12. Retrieved 2015-10-19. 
  10. ^ Overview
  11. ^ Chapter 122 of the Laws of 1898.
  12. ^ "Department of Natural Resources - History". Retrieved 2015-10-19. 
  13. ^ Alum shares World Food Prize
  14. ^ Jane A. Langdale1. "C4 Cycles: Past, Present, and Future Research on C4 Photosynthesis". Retrieved 2015-10-19. 
  15. ^ ByKrishna Ramanujan (2013-01-23). "Scientists discover genetic key to efficient crops | Cornell Chronicle". Retrieved 2015-10-19. 
  16. ^ "Caldwell Hall". Cornell University. Retrieved 2010-09-20. 
  17. ^ "Computing and Communication Center". Cornell University. Retrieved 2010-09-20. 
  18. ^ "New York State Agricultural Experiment Station". Cornell University. Retrieved 2006-05-22. 
  19. ^ "Drilmun Hill Student Farm". Cornell University. Retrieved 2010-09-19. 
  20. ^ " - Best Undergrad Business Schools". Business Week. Retrieved 2006-02-28. 
  21. ^ Austin Considine (8 July 2011). "Lying Adapts to New Technology". The New York Times. 
  22. ^ "Social Media Lab". 
  23. ^ "Chicken Innovator Prof. Baker '43 Dies". Retrieved 2010-03-06. 
  24. ^ a b Grace-Kobas, Linda (9 March 2006). "Focus on Cornell alumni: Toronto Raptors and Texas Rangers choose Cornellians to lead them" (PDF). Cornell Chronicle. p. 9. Retrieved 24 March 2009. 
  25. ^ "BSA's first Eagle Scout". Eagle Scout Resource Center. Retrieved 2006-07-07. 
  26. ^ "Rediscovering Barbara McClintock". Retrieved 2010-03-06. 

External links[edit]