The Early Years
Andrew Dickson White, the first president of Cornell University, exhorted the Board of Trustees to establish a new architecture program. White had a fascination with the discipline, combined with a sense of its importance to cultural history. From a young age, he began collecting architectural books and journals. He offered his collection — his "pet extravagance," and possibly the best collection in the United States at the time — to Cornell. In return, the trustees agreed to found the school of architecture and appointed Charles Babcock as the first professor of architecture in the United States.
Providing the first four-year course in architecture in an American university, the college presented an alternative to apprenticeship programs or to study in Europe. The new architecture program was immediately popular, registering 32 students by 1876.