The story of what Cornell meant to me professionally is extremely simple.
1. I discovered what I wanted to do (Physics),
2. I found out that I did not need the professors. This insight arrived perforce because of the immediate need for a prerequisite and the consequent necessity to teach myself Quantum Mechanics over the summer. The realization that I could teach myself anything effortlessly followed.
3. My experience at ECE enabled me to obtain one of those truly great NSF Fellowships that were available in those days; this support bankrolled my entire graduate education at MIT in the Department of Physics.
4. With the help of Professor Eastman on the ECE faculty, I was able to make my first international research connection. He organized a position for me involving Radio Astronomy at Chalmers in Goteberg, Sweden during the summer between Cornell and MIT. The leading consequence is the fact that international connections have been a key advantage for me during my entire career. It launched a series of subsequent activities in Russia, Germany, Sweden, England, and Japan that yielded millions of dollars in research support; the recruitment of several key people; the ability to import technologies vital to my research, but not available to me in the United States; and the creation of new ideas.
A set of advantages of this magnitude is hard to imagine, but they all go directly back to ECE at Cornell and I believe that they can be available to any ECE students.