125 Years of Achievement: The History of Cornell's College of Architecture,
Art, and Planning

Library of the College of Architecture,
White Hall. ca. 1910.

One hundred and twenty-five years ago Andrew Dickson White, the first president of Cornell University, challenged the Board of Trustees to establish a new program to provide formal academic training in architecture. White combined a fascination with architecture with a sense of its importance to cultural history. While still a young man he had begun collecting architectural books and journals. He offered his collection, possibly the best in the U.S. at the time, to the University. In return, the Trustees agreed to found a School of Architecture. Providing the first four-year course in architecture in an American university, it presented an alternative to apprenticeship programs or to study in Europe. Charles Babcock was named professor of architecture, the first such appointment in the country. By 1896 the College of Architecture also offered classes in drawing, painting, and sculpture, and a department of art was formally added in 1921. A City and Regional Planning program began in 1935, and in 1967 the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning officially acquired its current name.

From the twenty-one students in the first class to a current enrollment of 550 undergraduates and 200 graduate students, from a faculty of one to a faculty of sixty, the college has grown and prospered. This exhibition honors the faculty and students who have fulfilled Andrew Dickson White’s aspirations. It draws on a wealth of original sources documenting the history of the College, housed in the University Archives. A printed catalog and an electronic version of the exhibit provide an even broader range of documents and images.

The exhibition, catalog, and Web site comprise a fitting tribute to the achievements of the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning. They were sponsored by Lee S Jablin, Bachelor of Architecture, Class of 1971, on the occasion of his 25th Reunion. We join him in celebrating the College’s 125th anniversary.
can truly celebrate 125 years of achievement.

Drafting Room, White Hall. ca. 1910.

Painting class. ca. 1915.

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