Cornell Hall is located south of the Reynolds Alumni Center on the MU campus. The neo-Georgian appearance of the building complements the alumni center and Hulston Hall on the South Quadrangle and nearby Jesse Hall. The site slopes nearly a full story from north to south, resulting in both the first and second floors having grade access. The main entrance is on the northeast, facing the South Quadrangle. The building has a secondary entrance at the corner of Rollins Street and Maryland Avenue.
Cornell Hall includes 17 classrooms, three computer labs, an executive classroom, a distance learning classroom, a 500-seat auditorium, a 125-seat lecture hall, two reception/multi-purpose rooms and 8 small breakout rooms as well as offices for faculty, staff, graduate assistants, academic and support units, and research and service agencies. It features state-of-the-art technologies, including network and database accessibility in all areas as well as two-way interactive video capabilities. Flexible teaching spaces, including classrooms and breakout rooms that facilitate class interaction, teamwork, research, and small-group activities, are emphasized throughout the building. Cornell Hall contains approximately 150,000 square feet, including a naturally lit atrium. The design also provides plaza space for outdoor activities at the auditorium entrance and at the main entrance.
The cost to construct and equip Cornell Hall was $28,050,000. Funding came from three sources: $17,127,000 from the State of Missouri, $745,000 from MU, and $10,178,000 from private supporters of the college. In addition, the college raised another approximate $1 million from private sources to create an endowment for the building, with the annual proceeds used to assure that it is maintained and refurbished as necessary.
Cornell Hall is named for Harry M. Cornell, Jr. Mr. Cornell is chairman emeritus of Leggett & Platt, Incorporated, a Fortune 500 company headquartered in Carthage, Missouri. He earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from MU in 1950, and became president and CEO of Leggett & Platt in 1960. Mr. Cornell, in conjunction with Leggett & Platt, made a $3 million gift to the college during its Excellence Through Change campaign. In 2006, Mr. Cornell made an additional gift to the college of $4 million, part of which will fund enhancements to Cornell Hall. The remainder of the gift established the Cornell Leadership Program.