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Ivy Covered Campus – Can You Guess Where We Are?


Take a stroll with Mark as he explores a beautiful campus.  Can you guess which campus this is?.

Mark Montgomery
Educational Consultant
Okay, I’m on a new campus and I want to just play a little game. I want you to take a look with me here and I’m going to walk around the campus, I’m going to show you different aspects of the campus and I want you to tell me where we are. What state are we in? So as we are looking around, we can look at the architecture. Notice the red brick, sort of Neo Georgian architecture with the rectangular windows and the columns in the Doric style. Hmm, I wonder where we are. And here we have some of the practice fields and a really nice athletic facility and business center and beyond that is the track and some more playing fields. Hmm, nice big trees too. I wonder where we are. Hmm, where are we?
Look, a stately old building, built in the last century and behind it, a beautiful chapel on a hill; a beautiful location. I wonder where we could be. And on every campus we always find the ugly building. This is the ugly building on this campus. Hmm, so that doesn’t really tell us much, if every campus has an ugly building. I wonder which campus we are on now. And over here we have the little New England like Protestant Chapel, red brick and white steeple, and then over here we have the grand monumental church, not exactly a cathedral, still probably called a chapel. Where are we?
Behind me we have the library; it’s a little more modern than most. But notice that at least architecturally it’s trying to blend in with the surroundings of its other buildings on this nice pedestrian mall. Again, the red brick buildings, the white trim, the Doric columns. Wow, it’s just so New England.
So, yes, here we are at Cornell; not Cornell University however, Cornell College . Not in Ithaca, New York, but in Mount Vernon, Iowa. You know, it’s so amazing. Sometimes I will recommend colleges to students and say, “It’s in Iowa, it’s in Wisconsin, it’s in Michigan,” and students would look at me like, what planet are you from? I have in my mind the Amherst, the Harvard Yards, the Williams of the world. I want to go to school in Massachusetts, New England or Upstate New York. Well, it really amounts to is geographical chauvinism in many ways because here at Cornell College you have all the same kinds of feel that you would have at a New England College, right here in Iowa. The beautiful trees, the fantastic wonderfully harmonious architecture and built on a hill and you call it Little College Town and first class education.
So before you make snap judgments about whether Iowa or Michigan or Indiana or Ohio is right for you, ask yourself whether you’re really being fair. Ask yourself whether you’ve been there. Ask yourself what you’re looking for in a college. If you’re looking for the bucolic sylvan environment of a Cornell College, you might just find it in a place you least expect.


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