Cornell's first president, Andrew Dickson White, received a classical education. The founder, Ezra Cornell, was a self-made man. Each is memorialized in a statue on the Arts Quad; the university and its design reflects each of their sensibilities.
In the late 1860s, White asked Frederick L. Olmsted, designer of New York City's Central Park, for his advice on campus planning. Olmsted recommended an irregular layout of buildings and landscaping that utilized wild plants and the natural beauty of the hilltop and its gorges. But from boyhood, White had dreamed of regular quadrangles and manicured green lawns bounded by ornate buildings, and his vision prevailed.
In spring, graduating seniors gather on the Arts Quad lawn, then proceed to Schoellkopf Field, where their degrees are conferred. In fall, students play Frisbee and lounge on the grass between classes.