Cornell’s Animal Celebrities

The diversity of animals that have called Cornell home extends far beyond just the two legged species of students, faculty, and staff. Since the earliest days of the University, animals have played the roles of companion, teaching tool, and mascot. Some achieved celebrity--at least, for a while: three-legged dogs on the Arts Quad, a rattlesnake loose in the Veterinary School, flying fish at Lynah Rink, or fistulated “holey” cows, have made a strong impression on our campus.

Andrew Dickson White, Cornell’s first President (1866-1885), was noted for his fondness for certain animals. In his A History of Cornell (1962), Morris Bishop recounts how White once expelled a student who killed a campus chipmunk with his cane. He would even allow squirrels to roam his famous library, whose books are now kept by the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections in Kroch Library. Today, the Division honors this tradition of hospitality by presenting an entire exhibition about (famous) animals.

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