Andrew Dickson White


Andrew Dickson White


A stickler for academic excellence, White refused to give permission for Cornell’s football squad to travel to a game against Michigan. “I will not permit thirty men to travel four hundred miles to agitate a bag of wind.”

Biographical Note: 

Andrew Dickson White was a U.S. scholar and university administrator. Dickson, a respected scholar, and Ezra Cornell, an adventurous businessman, shared the bold dream of founding a “truly great university.” Cornell, pragmatic and earnest, wanted an institution that would offer instruction in the mechanic arts and agriculture. White, scholarly and broad-minded, yearned to establish a university where “truth shall be taught for truth’s sake” in the arts and sciences. White’s concept of an elective curriculum was revolutionary at the time. Together they created a nonsectarian university that was the first in the eastern United States to admit women. In 1865 Dickson was appointed first president of Cornell University.