March 9, 2007

30,000 hopeful freshmen vying for 3,200 slots at Cornell in fall, Skorton says

Cornell has received just over 30,000 applications for undergraduate admissions for the 2007-08 academic year, a 7 to 8 percent increase over the previous year and about a 45 percent rise since 2004, said President David Skorton at a meeting of the Cornell Board of Trustees on the Ithaca campus March 9.

Skorton supplied the figures in response to a question posed during the board's open, public session. A total of 3,200 incoming freshman slots are available for the new academic year, of which about a third have been reserved through the Early Decision program, Skorton said. The balance of the applications are now in process for the fall semester.

Skorton attributed some of the increase to use of the Common Application since Cornell adopted it in the fall of 2004. But, he said, this is certainly not the only driver.

"This goes beyond whatever effect the Common Application has," Skorton said.

Before answering questions, Skorton also highlighted the past few months, including his first trip to Albany in February to meet with state political leaders, his recent signing of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, and ongoing work on the university's Diversity Initiative.

Also during open session, trustees heard reports from Student Assembly President Kwame Thomison and Graduate and Professional Student Assembly (GPSA) President Janet Vertesi.

Thomison described the undergraduate assembly's work in cultivating communication with Ithaca College and with other Ivy League universities; a transportation initiative for shuttling students to the airport in Syracuse; ongoing public discussion about revisions to the Campus Code of Conduct; and discussion about creating a community center for Collegetown residents.

During her report, Vertesi asked the trustees to read the GPSA Vision Statement for a Graduate Community Initiative, recently presented to Skorton and other university leaders. The report outlines a vision for enhancing the graduate student experience at Cornell.

The report, Vertesi said, emphasizes the need for an expanded graduate student center, better career resources for graduate students and exploration of increased cross-departmental collaboration. She encouraged comments or questions to be directed to gpsa@cornell.edu.

The board's consent agenda included authorization of construction for the School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR) Ives Hall faculty building. The board approved a $16 million renovation project to modernize the building's electric, plumbing and HVAC systems in order to meet current building code requirements.

According to the board agenda, $14 million of the project cost has been committed from state funds, with the balance, if required, to be drawn from ILR funds.

Construction includes 42,900 gross square feet of existing space and 4,800 gross square feet of new space, and is to begin in the fall. The expected completion date is spring of 2009.