Colleges: How to Buy a Campus

Far above Cayuga's waters There's a place known well.

'Tis our noble alma mater Higher than Cornell.

A college in Ithaca, N.Y., that looks down on Ivy League Cornell? As recently as five years ago the notion would have been considered absurd. Yet today the 2,200 students of Ithaca College sing that song with considerable spirit —and unquestionable altimetric accuracy. After 73 years as mainly a coed music and physical-education school housed in a seedy assortment of Victorian buildings in downtown Ithaca, the college now occupies 250 windswept acres atop South Hill, where the clean bold lines of its new $30...

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