Cornell Hall is named for Harry M. Cornell, Jr. Mr. Cornell is chairman emeritus of Leggett & Platt, Incorporated, a Fortune 500 company head quartered in Carthage, Mo. J.P. Leggett, Mr. Cornell’s grandfather, and C.B. Platt founded Leggett & Platt, the pioneer of coiled bedsprings, in 1883. The men had two plants when they incorporated as Leggett & Platt Spring Bed & Manufacturing Co. in 1901. The company remained a small regional producer until the late 1960s, when substantial growth began and it went public in 1967 under Mr. Cornell’s guidance, becoming a leader in its industry.
Mr. Cornell earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from Mizzou in 1950 and became president and CEO of Leggett & Platt in 1960. He was also awarded an honorary doctorate of law in 2003 from the University of Missouri. Mr. Cornell, in conjunction with Leggett & Platt, made a substantial gift to the college during its Excellence Through Change campaign. In 2006, he made an additional gift to the college, part of which funds enhancements to Cornell Hall. The gift also established the Cornell Leadership Program.