text reading "we are trailblazers"


We are trailblazers. Throughout the history of Cornell Human Ecology, our community of faculty, staff and students have consistently dared to be different. Challenged the status quo. Made an impact by innovating. Where there are established expectations, we’ve pioneered unconventional paths to improve human lives. From 1925 to now. 

As we mark a century of Cornell Human Ecology, we’re celebrating our long line of trailblazers by telling their stories. From human health visionaries to pioneers of interdisciplinary study, each story in this series is as unique as it is uplifting. Yet they all exemplify one undeniable quality that characterizes all of Cornell Human Ecology: we are trailblazers, and we always have been. 

purple tinted photo from the 1920s of a woman wearing pearls

Beulah Blackmore

Blackmore came to Cornell in 1915 as the first full time clothing instructor in what was then the Department of Home Economics. Over a career of 36 years, she led the College’s textile and clothing program as the curriculum expanded from a focus on clothing construction to more advanced study of design, psychology, chemistry and consumer selection

purple-tinted photo of a woman speaking into a microphone, circa 1950s

Joyce Brothers

In a career spanning five decades, Joyce Brothers ’47 – better known to millions as Dr. Joyce Brothers – normalized therapy and brought psychological concepts from the psychoanalyst’s couch to the living room, earning her the nickname “the mother of TV psychology.”

purple tinted photo of a woman pointing at a map with radiating strings on it

Flemmie Kittrell

Over a career of more than 40 years — which included leading the home economics department at Howard University, making vital contributions to the Head Start program and traveling to more than 15 countries — Flemmie Kittrell, M.S. ’30, Ph.D. ’36 demonstrated that the study of home economics was never limited to the home.