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People working on old heavy machinery


Historical view of the Cornell Campus
An historical view of Cornell's campus

ILR studies many areas that shape the working world and contribute to an organization’s success in a global economy. These include human resource management; labor-management relations; labor economics; organizational behavior; international and comparative labor; labor relations, labor law and history; conflict resolution; management development; diversity management; employment and disability; and social statistics.

An ILR education is grounded in the social sciences. Students and faculty explore and gain an understanding of human behavior through the lens of the workplace. Students also learn how organizations work and how they fit into the larger society and economy. As a result, they acquire knowledge and skills that help them to solve problems on-the-job and to build and manage productive work relationships. An ILR education, for students and professionals, is practical and applied.

ILR has more full-time faculty involved in teaching and research that spans the broad range of work and employment disciplines than any other educational institution of its kind. Its Martin P. Catherwood Library is regarded as the most comprehensive source of information in North America on work, employment and labor issues.

Nov 5 1945 first ILR class
Nov 5, 1945; The first ILR class

Founding Faculty

Photo of many founding faculty at a table

The Distinguished Founding Faculty of the ILR School were true pioneers. They took the broad New York State Legislative mandate (1944) that created the School and forged ground-breaking academic programs for students, for practitioners, for labor, and for management.

The Founding Faculty accomplished this feat in the absence of any educational models of a full ILR undergraduate and graduate program to draw upon. With vision, commitment, and determination, they shaped and reshaped resident, extension, and library programs in the face of diverse, often contradictory, crosscurrents in labor-management relations of the time. These pages are designed to introduce and honor the legacy and enduring contributions of the ILR Founding Faculty. -Edward Lawler, Dean of the ILR School, 1997-2005

Vernon Jensen

"It was my belief from the beginning that it was intended by the framers of the School, and as it was embodied in the legislation creating the School, that collective bargaining was to be the heart and soul of the School."

Jean McKelvey

Jean loved telling the story of her first arbitration when she "walked into the room and there was nothing but men there; one looked up and said, 'Oh, you're the secretary' and I said, 'No, I'm the arbitrator'."

Milton Konvitz

I saw the U.S. Constitution as it has been interpreted as a magnificent depository of our ideals, both individual and social.

Maurice Neufeld

"Keep in touch. I expect you to carry that torch, which in the ancient games, was passed on from runner to runner."

ILR School Timeline