Cornell College is a private liberal arts institution in Mount Vernon, Iowa.
Founded in 1853, it was the first educational institution west of the Mississippi River to award a degree to a female student, five years later. Since 1978, it has followed a “one course at a time” structure whereby students stick to one subject per three and a half week period and have a four-day break prior to starting the next block.
Cornell runs more than 40 programmes in total.
Not to be confused with Cornell University in New York, the college is located in between Cedar Rapids and Iowa City. It is 130 miles from the state capital of Des Moines and 70 miles from the border with Illinois.
History, psychology and economics are the undergraduate courses with the most students. It was one of the first US institutions to offer courses in education, which it has run since 1872.
Three-quarters of students volunteer during their time at Cornell, and more than half of graduates go on to further study. Linked to the United Methodist Church, Cornell welcomes students from all faiths and none.
Its 130-foot King Chapel, today used for graduations, has been on the National Register of Historic Places for decades. It was built in 1882.
Alumni include L.M. Shaw, a former US treasury secretary, and Don E. Fehrenbacher, a historian and Pulitzer Prize winner.