Back to top

The Story of Flat Cornelia

The Story of Flat Cornelia

Once a cow has jumped over the moon, it is hard to stay put.

Cornelia the Cow, after spending her youth with Jack and eventually being traded for a handful of beans, took up with a wild bunch. The cats with the fiddle were a bad influence and let’s not talk about the dish and the spoon…

Once Cornelia put her hooves to solid ground again, she knew that she had to change. She needed a career. Not content to stay in the field with her sisters, she followed in the hoof steps of her mentor, Elsie. After a few modeling gigs, she landed the role of Cornell Dairy spokescow in 2001. She was making public appearances and had plenty of photo ops. But she was restless, longing for travel and adventure.

The restlessness became too much to bear and on a warm summer night in the August 2003, Cornelia left her perch on the roof of Stocking Hall to seek adventure. While away from her beloved dairy Processing Plant, Cornelia was wracked by guilt and found her way home again after only a few weeks away. Initially she took shelter with her sisters in the Dairy Paddock and after some questioning by the authorities, she returned to work.  She still won’t discuss her whereabouts during that time, but soon after her return she was joined by her son, Cal. The happy family spent three contented years with us in Stocking Hall, much loved and much admired.

But nothing good can last. August rolled around and the wanderlust kicked in for our dear spokescow in 2006. Dazed and confused, she was discovered on the Hoy Field pitcher’s mound early one November morning in 2006. Cal was nowhere to be seen. Cornelia threw herself into her work and was the model spokescow, modeling, making appearances, and vowing to see her son again. Her patience was rewarded when Cal returned home, looking not a day older, in early March 2010.

Next time wanderlust struck, Cornelia had companions. She visited Los Angeles with President Skorton in March of 2011 and the team paired up again in the Got Milk? Mustache campaign soon after. They added CALS Dean Kathryn Boor to the mix and Cornelia shared her love of travel and the limelight with the dean. 

Dean Boor reminded Cornelia of her duty and she has stayed in Stocking Hall, making occasional appearances and living life in seclusion. On late nights, you could often hear lonely hooves roaming the halls of the newly renovated Stocking Hall as Cornelia explores her domain and all the new equipment that it contains. Always aware of food safety, Cornelia could always be found wearing her safety booties and hard hat. But that could not save Cornelia from what was to come…

In the cold days of February 2014, Cornelia shared our excitement as a new cheese press arrived at the pilot plant to boost production of the beloved Big Red Cheddar. She had forgotten, though, that one should never be in the plant alone and was found in the plant in her safety gear but flattened paper-thin. At first we were distraught that Cornelia was much altered, but happy that she was still with us and otherwise unharmed. Colleagues from nanotechnology, theVet School, and engineering were called. Decisions were made: prior to receiving radical unflattening treatments, Cornelia would be cloned and miniaturized.  This presented Cornelia with an opportunity that was not previously possible: she could now indulge in her love of travel and once more be the subject of her adoring paparazzi.

She presented her plan to us this way: she could be mailed to or downloaded by alumni, students, faculty, staff, and just plain lovers of Cornelia. They could then take her to a class or lab, on field trips and internships, explore parts of campus with her that she has not yet visited, go to club or volunteer events, go sightseeing around Ithaca and the country (maybe even the world), visit plants and factories, the options are limitless…

She thought that people who had a “Flat Cornelia” could send their photos to her friend, Louise ( and they could be entered in contests for best photo, be used as profile pictures, and show their love for Cornelia! Download your own "Flat Cornelia" and get posing!

We all agreed that it was a great way to help Cornelia realize her dreams and bring a little bit of Cornell University Food Science to the world. Contact Louise Felker at if you would like to be a part of Cornelia’s adventures. Please include “Flat Cornelia” in the subject line.