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1853 Society of Lifetime Giving

Membership in Cornell’s 1853 Society of Lifetime Giving is the college’s most prestigious donor recognition. Through the society, the college honors the leadership and extraordinary support of alumni, parents, friends, faculty, and staff who have given generously to Cornell College over many years, often through their entire lives or through bequests, supporting Cornell’s academic programs, its students, its faculty, and the campus itself.

How to become a member

Individuals become members based on their outright, cumulative giving to Cornell. Cumulative lifetime giving is calculated with qualifying gifts that include confirmed commitments of cash, employer’s matching gifts, securities, real estate, and gifts-in-kind. Only irrevocable planned gifts will be included in the calculation. Cumulative lifetime giving totals are calculated at the close of each fiscal year (June 30).

Levels of membership within the 1853 Society

George Bryant Bowman Founders Circle

$1,000,000 +

The college’s premier cumulative giving society, named for the college’s founder, recognizes benefactors whose gifts to Cornell College have accumulated to $1 million or more during their lifetime.

William Fletcher King Circle


Besides founder George Bowman, no one was as important to Cornell during its first decades as William Fletcher King. Arriving on campus in 1862 as a professor, he then served as president for 45 years, before retiring in 1908. The William Fletcher King Circle recognizes those donors whose generosity has reached or exceeded the $500,000 level through their cumulative gifts.