Cornell welcomes 'incredibly talented, diverse' Class of 2020

Maurice Bradford
Patrick Shanahan/Cornell Marketing Group
No. 19 Maurice Bradford, Class of 2020, practices on Schoellkopf field at Football Media Day, Aug. 17.

Maurice Bradford’s preparation for the Ivy League has been multifaceted, distinguishing himself in academics, fine arts and football.

One of 3,342 freshmen entering Cornell this fall in the Class of 2020, Bradford is anticipating “new experiences, new people, meeting a lot of smart people. I’m open to a lot of different avenues at Cornell,” he said. “It’s one of the most exciting things to think about – the opportunities available to me and to be able to transform into a great person.”

A Meinig Family Cornell National Scholar, Bradford is enrolling in the College of Architecture, Art and Planning as an urban and regional studies major and joins the Big Red football team this fall.

“I’m interested in helping cities grow, growth not just for the city but for the people,” he said. “By coupling those studies with athletics, it’s a good fit for me.”

At Lakeside High School in Hot Springs, Arkansas, Bradford was a member of the National Honor Society, an Advanced Placement Scholar and Arkansas Boys State delegate. He was a two-time All-State football player, captain of the Rams varsity team and a three-year letterman as a running back, wide receiver and defensive back. He’s listed as a 6-foot-2, 205-pound linebacker on Cornell’s preseason roster.

Bradford is also an award-winning artist. “I’ve always had an interest in drawing things,” he said. “I’m looking forward to collaborative work with other students; I know there’s brilliant people there.”

Clive Howard/Cornell Marketing Group

The Class of 2020 is the most selective freshman class in university history, said Jason C. Locke, associate vice provost for enrollment.

Cornell had its highest-ever freshman applicant pool this year, with 44,965 applications for admission. Of those, 6,337 applicants were offered admission, an admit rate of 14.1 percent.

“The new freshmen and transfer students who will join us this month represent an incredible depth and breadth of accomplishment in academics, creative endeavors and service to others,” said Senior Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School Barbara A. Knuth. “I congratulate and welcome each of them, and encourage them to take full advantage of all Cornell has to offer.”

Students in the Class of 2020 are “an incredibly talented and diverse class of new undergraduates,” Locke said. “The global diversity represented in this year’s freshman class is truly extraordinary.”

They represent 59 nations, based on citizenship; and reside in 48 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. There are 381 international students entering as freshmen, or 11.4 percent of the class.

A record 790 freshmen – 23.6 percent of the class – identify as underrepresented minorities, and 1,476 (44.2 percent) identify as students of color. The class includes 376 first-generation students, 11.3 percent of all freshmen.

The university’s freshman enrollment goal was raised this year by nearly 100 students. (An additional 60 freshmen will enter in January 2017 under Cornell’s First-Year Spring Admission program that began last year.)

A total of 619 transfer students are also joining Cornell, approximately 100 more than last fall. Of these, 21 percent are first-generation students and 34 percent – another record – are students of color.

“The larger transfer class is indicative of the university’s desire to offer an alternate pathway for talented students to gain access to a Cornell education,” Locke said.

New students also are receiving more financial aid from Cornell sources. The average need-based grant award for freshmen was $37,855, up from $37,392 in 2015. The average grant for transfer students increased to $38,265, from $32,870.

Media Contact

Melissa Osgood