Category: Biography, Cornell University
About the Ezra Cornell Papers Preface Ezra Cornell referred to himself as a farmer and mechanic who had spent some time working in the telegraph industry. His ambition and imagination, however, were not so prosaic. Skillful work, uncommon tenacity, and fortuitous circumstances resulted in his amassing a fortune. As soon as it became clear that it was a fortune, he promptly rejected conventional practice and sage advice, and directed that those riches be used to found a unique university: a comprehensive and practical institution dedicated to all forms of intellectual endeavor.