Early Asian Alumni at Cornell 

About the Exhibit

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Cornell University has a long and distinguished history in Asia. A key component is the proud history of Asian students who have attended Cornell. The stories of the early Asian students at Cornell form an important part of Cornell’s international legacy.  


Through the generosity of Mark E. Hansen (Class of 1979), we have created a web site to showcase selected alumni from East Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. The site includes an exhibition with stories of selected individual students, and index of Asian alumni and other Cornell students who lived and worked in Asia, from Cornell’s earliest years to 1960.  An alumni index is also provided on the site. Largely drawn from Cornell’s Alumni Directories (1922, 1931, 1938, and 1960), it is by no means complete or exhaustive. All of the records presented on this site were pulled from Cornell alumni files; yearbooks, including the Cornell Class Book (1895-1917) and the Cornellian (1869-1960); and other materials from the Cornell archival collections. Although many of the early alumni files for international alumni do not exist or lack information, we have tried to present the most cohesive account of the available alumni biographies and data.

We encourage current alumni and friends to contribute additional names, as well as recollections and stories, and other materials (documents, photographs, audio, video, etc.) to add to the site. We also hope that this site will help to raise awareness of Cornell’s long relationship with Asia. Through the stories and the index, we hope that students, scholars, and family members will do further research to understand the driving forces for and socio-economic background of Asian students to study at Cornell, and to explore the linkages to those Cornell students who pursued careers in Asia, in business and commerce, education, government and military service, and religious/missionary activities. 

There are several considerations to take into account in order to use this resource effectively: 

  • Personal names are romanized as they appear in the Alumni Directories.  Particularly for Chinese names, these are in an older romanization, but not necessarily formal Wade-Giles romanization. In many cases, they may be mostly phonetic.

  • In accordance with the conventions of the Alumni Directories, students that are married women are listed by their married name. In most cases, we have also included maiden names.

  • Geographic place names are listed as they appeared when the Alumni Directories were created, although over the decades geo-political boundaries may have changed. We have included, where possible, a city and country designation.  The city location has been taken from one of the Alumni Directories, so it will indicate where the individual lived when that directory was compiled. Where no location was provided in the Directory, we have gone to other sources, including student registers and genealogical records. In these cases, the location will reflect where the individual lived when he or she was a student.

  • Degree abbreviations also reflect the usage of the time. We have provided a key to help navigate the degree codes.

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