Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg broke ground last week at the Cornell Tech high-tech campus – the new applied sciences campus of Cornell University and Israel’s Technion located on Roosevelt Island – together with his successor and current NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio.
After touring the campus site, Bloomberg announced that he would donate $100 million to fund a portion of the construction of the campus’ facilities on the island. As such, the first academic center on the Cornell Tech campus will be called the Bloomberg Center, in honor of Mr. Bloomberg’s two daughters, Emma and Georgina.
At the groundbreaking ceremony, Bloomberg expressed that the establishment has long been a dream of his for the City of New York, “New York became the greatest city in the world because we dare to dream bigger than anyone else and this project, I think, is part of that tradition.” In addition, he expressed that the school is likely to produce “thousands of jobs” for New York, a sentiment that was shared by de Blasio in his comments, “This is how you build a future and it’s happening right before our eyes.”
The new campus will span over 12 acres on the 147 acre island and will include academic buildings, offices and a housing complex for student and staff use. Even the “dorms” at the Cornell Tech campus will be state of the art, marking the first residential high-rise in the world that meets “passive house sustainability standards,” consuming between 60 to 70 percent less energy than typical buildings. The campus is expected to open some time in 2017.
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Cornell Tech was founded in 2011 as a winner of the applied sciences initiative of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, a call-to-action to encourage the development of a lively tech industry in the city. While it awaits the completion of what is set to be an impressive campus on New York’s Roosevelt Island, Cornell Tech students are studying out of Google’s former offices in the hip Meat Packing District in Manhattan. Since 2011, Cornell Tech’s Dean Dan Huttenlocher reports that 100 students have graduated, including 75 in the last month.
Currently, Cornell Tech offers Masters Degrees in a number of fields in the tech industry including: health tech, computer science, connective (social) media, as well as PhD programs and a Startup Postdoc. As part of its cooperation with Israel’s leading technology institute, the Technion, the school houses the Joan & Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute that encourages an academic partnership between the two institutions. Indeed, the partnership between the institutions was initiated as a founding principle of the school in 2010, based on the fact that Israel is home to the largest concentration of startups outside of California’s Silicon Valley.
Besides communications mogul Michael Bloomberg, Cornell Tech has received donations from other notable figures in the business and tech worlds. Charles F. Feeny of the Duty Free Shoppers Group donated an impressive $350 million to the school in 2011 through his charity Atlantic Philanthropies, one of the largest private foundations in the world.
The school’s Jacobs Institute was established with a $133 million donation from Irwin Mark Jacobs, the Founding Chairman and former CEO of tech giant Qualcomm in April 2013. And Verizon Wireless gave $50 million to see the construction of the Verizon Executive Education Center and Google, as mentioned above, donated the use of its offices to the school until construction is completed on its permanent campus.