Contact: Ellen Marsh
Phone: (607) 254-4680
Ezra Cornell Bicentennial Celebration Continues at Cornell University Library
Carol Kammen presents “Ezra Cornell and Any Person” on March 28
Ezra Cornell and his dream of founding of a university open to anyone regardless of their religion, gender or race will be the focus of a March 28 presentation at Cornell University Library.
Tompkins County Historian Carol Kammen, a senior lecturer in the university’s history department and co-curator of the library’s Ezra Cornell Bicentennial exhibition, will give a talk entitled “Ezra Cornell and Any Person,” beginning at 4:30 p.m. in the lecture room of Carl A. Kroch Library. The event is free and open to the public. A reception will immediately follow.
In his address at the opening of Cornell University on Oct. 7, 1868, Cornell said, “I trust we have laid the foundation of [a] university – ‘an institution where any person can find instruction in any study.’” Kammen’s presentation will center on the historical significance of Cornell’s “any person” belief and how it ultimately led to the creation of a university bearing his name.
“What impresses me about Ezra Cornell is that having been poor, and then in debt, when he came into money – and he came into a lot of money for the day – his immediate goal was to use it to do the most good and to do something for his hometown,” Kammen said. “In an age that would come to be dominated by ‘Robber Barons,’ Ezra Cornell set a stunning example of stewardship and humanity.”
The March 28 presentation is part of the university’s yearlong bicentennial birthday celebration for Ezra Cornell. Also on display in Kroch Library’s Hirshland Gallery through Aug. 31 is the exhibition, “‘I Would Found an Institution’: The Ezra Cornell Bicentennial.” It details how Cornell, who came to Ithaca with no formal education, went on to amass a fortune in the telegraph business and found one of America’s finest universities. The exhibition features Cornell’s letters, diaries and photographs. Highlights include the university’s charter, the telegraph receiver used to receive the world’s very first telegraph message, Cornell’s safe and tools and a collection of shells from Hawaii that he purchased to enhance the university’s holdings
For more information, call 255-3530 and visit rmc.library.cornell.edu/Ezra. For press information, call 255-4813 or go to library.cornell.edu/communications/Ezra.