A Legacy of Inclusion

Diversity at Cornell Law School is not new, nor did it happen by chance. It is an integral part of what makes us who we are.

Our inclusive approach dates back to our founder, A. D. White. His egalitarian outlook on education lives on in Cornell Law School's mission to train "lawyers in the best sense." In a letter to the abolitionist Gerrit Smith in 1862, when slavery was still legal, White described his ambition to found a university that would provide instruction "afforded to all-regardless of sex or color."

It was not long before White's vision became reality. Cornell Law School's first graduating class included George Washington Fields, who was the only former slave to graduate from the University. In 1919, Mary Donlon became the first woman editor-in-chief of a law review anywhere in the United States, decades before any other woman held such a title. We are proud to continue White's legacy to this day. We are one of the most diverse top law schools in the nation. We ranked highest on U.S. News and World Report's "diversity index," which measures the likelihood that students will encounter classmates from racial or ethnic groups other than their own.

Cornell Law School's diversity story is still being written. One of our ongoing priorities is to provide opportunities for women and minorities, both in our student body and in faculty positions. We believe the richest learning environment is one in which people from all backgrounds are encouraged to share their perspectives.

Cornell Law School is a place to think critically about the world around you. It is a place to learn about the context in which laws are made and applied, and a place to envision a better future for all.