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Symbols of the University

The Cornell Public Library

Cornell’s Twelve Presidents

Inaugurating the Presidents

Andrew Dickson White, 1868
Charles Kendall Adams, 1885
Jacob Gould Schurman, 1892
Livingston Farrand, 1921
Edmund E. Day, 1937
Deane W. Malott, 1951
James A. Perkins, 1963
Dale R. Corson, 1969
Frank H. T. Rhodes, 1977
Hunter Ripley Rawlings III, 1995
Jeffrey Sean Lehman, 2003

Inaugurating the Presidents

Charles Kendall Adams, 1885

Cornell’s second Inauguration took place on November 19, 1885, in the Old Armory, a building that stood on the approximate site of the current Engineering Quad. The University suspended all classes for the day, and at 1:30, a procession of students, faculty, Trustees and invited guests formed on the Arts Quad, with an “Inaugural March” composed for the occasion by Chimesmaster Harry Faulkenau. Preceded by the 54th Regiment Band of Rochester, about 800 people marched to the Armory, where participants attended formal ceremonies that lasted several hours, with three-and-one-half hours of speeches. The new president, Charles Kendall Adams, spoke about the development of higher education in America and his plans for a new form of education. Trustee Henry W. Sage formally presented the new president with the Charter and Seal.

Later that night, the Armory was transformed into a festive hall, with dancing that lasted until midnight.

The time until supper, about 10 o’clock, was taken up in general hand-shaking and promenading, the band furnishing excellent music. Soon after ten the dancing commenced, and from that time until after midnight the floor was filled with merry dancers.

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Order of Exercises
Program for the Inauguration of Charles Kendall Adams, November 19, 1885.


Invitation to the inauguration of Charles Kendall Adams.