Cornell Given $350 Million to Build NYC Science School

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced that Cornell University has been selected to build a high-tech graduate school, to be operated with Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, in New York City, writes Richard Perez-Pena at the New York Times.

The $350 million gift that comes with it will be critical in building the graduate school on Roosevelt Island. The donor is Atlantic Philanthropies, whose founder, Charles F. Feeney, is a Cornell alumnus.

“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create economic and educational opportunity on a transformational scale,” Mr. Feeney said.

This comes after Stanford University announced that they were out of the running to establish a New York City based campus.

Stanford was Cornell’s biggest rival in getting the contract, but days before the announcement was made Stanford President John Hennessy declared his university was out of the race.

“The university could not be certain that it could proceed in a way that ensured the success of the campus,” a university statement said.

Julie Wood, city deputy press secretary, issued a statement:

“This competition is about changing the future of the city’s economy, and we are thrilled that we have a number of proposals that we believe will do exactly that. We are in serious negotiations with several of the other applicants, each of whom has a game-changing project queued up.”

Bloomberg, along with officials, announced the $2 billion plan, which will include math and science education support for 10,000 city children.

“Today will be remembered as a defining moment,” Mr. Bloomberg said.

“In a word, this project is going to be transformative.”

The project will also stimulate jobs in the city. Building the campus is expected to create 20,000 construction jobs. Bloomberg and his officials also predict that this will lead to 600 new businesses over the next generation, creating 30,000 more jobs and as much as $1.4 billion in tax revenue.

“New York City is positioned to become the new technology capital of the world,” said David J. Skorton, the Cornell president.

Mr. Bloomberg declined to cite specifics when asked about Stanford’s decision to drop out of the race. Though Bloomberg did confirm that he had spoken to president Hennessy, and indicated that while Stanford may well have a future in the city, this project just wasn’t right.

“The program that we want may not exactly fit what they want,” he said.

Seven proposals from 17 institutions were submitted for the project. City officials pored through over 10,000 pages of documents over two months, but for Bloomberg there was only one clear winner.

Mr. Bloomberg picked the Cornell-Technion plan because it was “far and away the boldest and most ambitious” and had an “incredibly aggressive schedule,” he said.