Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 69.djvu/191

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.



When the American Association for the Advancement of Science decided to hold a special summer session between the winter meetings in New Orleans and New York City, it was well advised in choosing Ithaca as the place. There is probably no other university in the world with such a beautiful site and surroundings, and there are but few institutions whose buildings, equipment and work are of greater interest to students of science. Ithaca is not far from the center of scientific population, and Cornell is in many ways intermediate between the eastern private foundations, such as Harvard. Yale and Columbia, and the state institutions of the central west, such as Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin.

Cornell owed its origin to state support combined with the generosity of the man whose name it perpetuates. One of the most beneficent acts of congress, notable for its wisdom and because it was proposed in the midst of the civil war, was the land grant for the establishment in each state of a college primarily for agriculture and the mechanic arts. The act, approved July 2. 1802, provided that there should be granted to the several states public lands, thirty thousand acres for each senator and representative of congress, from the sale of which there should be established a perpetual fund "the interest of which shall be inviolably appropriated, by each state which may take and claim the benefit of this act, to the endowment, support and maintenance of at least one college, where the leading object shall be, without excluding other scientific and classical studies, and including military tactics, to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arts, in such manner as the legislatures of the states may respectively prescribe, in order to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in the several pursuits and professions in life."

New York state received about a million acres, and, thanks largely to the wisdom of Mr. Ezra Cornell, most of the land was held until ultimately it yielded over five million dollars. In accordance with Mr. Cornell's well-known words, 'I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study.' Cornell University was established in 1805 and j opened in the autumn of 1808. Thanks to the wise administration of Dr. Andrew D. White, to a loyal group of able teachers and men of science, to state support and private beneficence, Cornell has become one of the great universities of the country and of the world, fulfilling as nearly as may be the dreams of its founder. There are now some five hundred officers and four thousand students divided among departments as follows: the graduate department, the college of arts and sciences, the college of law, the medical college, the New York state veterinary college, the college of agriculture, the college of architecture, the college of civil engineering, the Sibley college of mechanical engineering and mechanic arts.

At Cornell University a gathering of scientific men could not be other than pleasant and profitable. There were in all about 400 in attendance at the meet-