Schoellkopf Field
Location513 Campus Rd
Ithaca, NY 14850
OperatorCornell University
SurfaceArtificial Turf
OpenedOctober 9, 1915; 107 years ago (1915-10-09)
Cornell Big Red (Football, sprint football, lacrosse)
Syracuse Orange (NCAA) (1979, one game)

Schoellkopf Field is a 21,500-capacity stadium at Cornell University's Ithaca campus that opened in 1915 and is used for the Cornell Big Red football, sprint football and lacrosse teams. It is located just north of Cascadilla Creek on the southern end of the campus, next to Hoy Field and Lynah Rink; Schoellkopf Memorial Hall, adjacent to the stadium, contains the Robison Hall of Fame Room, the hall of fame for Cornell athletics.


Cornellians cheer on the Big Red in 1919
Cornellians cheer on the Big Red in 1919
Schoellkopf Memorial Hall
Schoellkopf Memorial Hall

During the 1800s, Cornell athletic teams played on Percy Field, located where Ithaca High School now stands. As the university and town grew, the need for a larger, dedicated stadium on campus became apparent.[1]

Following the death of former Cornell football player and head football coach Henry Schoellkopf in 1912, his close friend, Willard Straight, donated $100,000 (equivalent to $2,808,000 in 2021) to construct the Schoellkopf Memorial Hall in honor of Henry Schoellkopf. The building was completed in 1913. In response to Straight's gift, members of the Schoellkopf family and the Zeta Psi Fraternity donated $70,000 (equivalent to $1,894,000 in 2021) for the construction of Schoellkopf Field in honor of the Schoellkopf family patriarch, Jacob Schoellkopf, Schoellkopf Field was completed in 1915.[2][3][4][5] The opening ceremony for Schoellkopf field took place on Saturday, October 9, 1915, in which an estimated 6,000 people marched in a procession led by university president Jacob Gould Schurman from Goldwin Smith Hall to the new stadium.[1] It was said to be the largest gathering in Ithaca up to that time.[1]

In 1920, a flood searchlight system was installed by General Electric.[1] The system was intended to allow for play in the fall and winter months, without causing glare in the players' eyes.[1]

A 1922 souvenir postcard shows Schoellkopf Field's unique crescent-shaped stands
1987 Homecoming fans sit in the West Stands, which were removed in 2016

Increased capacity

Schoellkopf's original capacity when it was completed was about 9,000, but it has been expanded and changed many times over the years. In 1924, the newly completed "Crescent" replaced the original stands on the east side of the field, increasing seating to about 21,500. In 1947, the stadium's capacity was again increased, this time to a capacity of 25,597, with the construction of permanent steel bleachers on the west side of the field.[1][6]

In 1971, the surface of the field was converted to "Polyturf", an artificial turf. The field has had its turf replaced by a newer type of turf in 1979, 1988, 1999, and, most recently, in 2008.

Later renovations

1986 saw a $3.6 million renovation, including the construction of a press box on the west side.[1] The press box won an award in 1990 from the Sports Writer's Association of America.[1] New light fixtures were installed in 1986 to allow for televised games at night.[1]

During the summer of 2005, renovations on deteriorating concrete forced the university to close the Crescent, but it reopened in time for the fall football season. The renovated Memorial Hall at the north end of the field opened in 2006, containing improved locker rooms and training facilities.[6] The Hall was expanded with a 16,000-square-foot (1,500 m2) three-story wing on its east side, with the varsity football locker rooms on the first floor, a Hall of Fame Room on the second floor, and a museum of Cornell football memorabilia on the third floor.[7] Over the summer of 2008, Cornell replaced the artificial turf with a FieldTurf pitch.[8]

The west stands, which had been erected in 1947 to increase capacity to 25,597, were torn down in March 2016 after falling into disuse and disrepair.[9]

Commencement and other special events

Schoellkopf Commencements

During May of every year, weather permitting, Schoellkopf is the site of the commencement ceremony for Cornell's Ithaca campus. Schoellkopf Field hosted the Division I NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship in 1980 and the Drum Corps International World Championships in 1974.

View from the Crescent looking toward the field and the press boxes. Homecoming game, Oct 21, 2017. Schoellkopf Memorial Hall at right.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Schoellkopf Field". Paul Munsey & Cory Suppes. Retrieved 26 October 2019.
  2. ^ The Schoellkopfs, A Family History, 1994 Copy Held by Cornell University Archives.
  3. ^ Guide to the Campus: Cornell University 1920 P 80-82.
  4. ^ CORNELL'S NEW STADIUM.; Schoellkopf Field Will Be Ready for Use in the Spring of 1915., The New York Times, August 23, 1914.
  5. ^ Schoellkopf Field, Cornell University, retrieved June 18, 2010.
  6. ^ a b Cornell Big Schoellkopf facts/history accessed 10-09-2007
  7. ^[permanent dead link] Retrieved 2008-07-02.
  8. ^ FieldTurf Installation on Schoellkopf Field Continues accessed 07-07-2008
  9. ^ Kluger, Molly (10 March 2016). "West Schoellkopf Stands Torn Down Due to Underuse, Disrepair". The Cornell Daily Sun. Archived from the original on 6 May 2021. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
Preceded byWarhawk Stadium Host of the Drum Corps International World Championship 1974 Succeeded byFranklin Field Preceded byByrd Stadium Home of the NCAA Lacrosse Final Four 1980 Succeeded byPalmer Stadium

Coordinates: 42°26′38.71″N 76°28′43.16″W / 42.4440861°N 76.4786556°W / 42.4440861; -76.4786556