Cornell to Rejoin Midwest Conference in 2012-13

Courtesy: Cornell College Athletics

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By James Steward

MOUNT VERNON - Midwest Conference Presidents' Council Chair Thomas Kunkel has announced that charter member Cornell College will return to the storied league in the 2012-2013 academic year. The Rams have been participating in the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference for the past 14 years.

"The Midwest Conference presidents are tremendously enthusiastic about having Cornell back in the conference," Kunkel said. "We greatly value and respect Cornell, not only for its outstanding academic record but because of our deep shared history."

As a founding member of the MWC in 1921, Cornell had been a cornerstone of the 90-year-old association before joining the IIAC with Coe College following the 1996-1997 academic year. Prior to its departure, the Mount Vernon, Iowa-based institution played a prominent role in the history and development of one of the top academic conferences in NCAA Division III.

"The Cornell athletics program is excited to have the opportunity to rejoin the Midwest Conference; a group of institutions with whom the College has long-standing relationships, both academically and athletically," Cornell Athletic Director John Cochrane said. "We are grateful to the presidents, faculty members, and athletic administrators in the Midwest Conference for embracing our request for membership; we are committed to working with our colleagues in furthering the mission of the Conference and continuing to provide an intercollegiate athletic experience that fosters academic and athletic excellence."

Aligned with members of the MWC as a highly-ranked and nationally-recognized liberal arts institution, Cornell also has a prominent athletic footprint in the annals of league record books. The Rams claimed the first-ever league championship at a track meet on May 13, 1921, and proceeded to collect 66 more titles up to the spring of 1997. Individuals like two-time conference champion Tony Every in men's cross country, and 1994 MWC Player of the Year Abe Tubbs in men's basketball, established Cornell as a well-rounded member during its first 76 years of membership.

"We are excited to celebrate the tradition and history that returns with Cornell's acceptance as a member of the Midwest Conference," Commissioner Chris Graham said. "Cornell's contributions to the league's philosophy and administration played a prominent role in leading us to where we are today. We look forward to working with its fine staff once again."

Cornell, a private four-year liberal arts college, was founded in 1853 and offers varsity programs in 19 sports (10 men, nine women). The Rams were a two-time winner of the Women's All-Sports Championship Trophy which is awarded to the school based on its standing in each of the MWC's 20 sports.

Among Cornell's 67 MWC team championships, 12 were won by both men's basketball and football while men's cross country won nine championships. The Rams had 11 other programs win MWC titles.

"We're extremely pleased to hear that the Midwest Conference has accepted our petition to return to the conference we helped found, and in which we'll again be competing with the advent of the 2012-13 academic year," Cornell interim President Jim Brown said. "We look forward to participating in many of the places where Cornell has active alumni bases and strong student representation. We think this change will be of great value to the experiences of our student athletes."

The Midwest Conference is currently comprised of 10 private, liberal arts, colleges and universities in Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin: Beloit College, Carroll University, Grinnell College, Illinois College, Knox College, Lake Forest College, Lawrence University, Monmouth College, Ripon College and St. Norbert College.

For more information on the Midwest Conference, please visit http://www.midwestconference.org/.
For more information on Cornell, please visit http://www.cornellcollege.edu/ or visit the athletics site at http://www.cornellrams.com/.

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