Cornell Tech

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Cornell NYC Tech
Cornell NYC Tech logo.png
Location New York City, New York, USA

Cornell NYC Tech is a planned university campus to be constructed on Roosevelt Island, in the East River of New York City. The project includes a partnership between Cornell University and the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology.


On December 19, 2011, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that Cornell University and its partner, the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, had won a bid for a new applied sciences and technology campus to be built on Manhattan's Roosevelt Island in New York City. The competition was established by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in order to increase entrepreneurship and job growth in the city's technology sector. The winning bid consisted of a 2.1 million square feet state-of-the-art tech campus being built on Roosevelt Island, which will have its first phase completed by 2017, with a temporary off-site campus opening in 2012.[1] Part of the new 'School of Genius' in New York City has been named the Technion Cornell Innovation Institute (TCII).[2]

The New York City Economic Development Corporation awarded the project to Cornell NYC Tech rather than to Stanford University, in potential partnership with the City College of New York, after Stanford pulled out of negotiations at the last minute, in anticipation of Cornell being selected as the winning bid.[3] Cornell NYC Tech began classes in January 2013 in temporary classrooms supplied by Google in its office building located at 111 Eighth Avenue New York City's Chelsea neighborhood.[4]

The college launched after gifts of $350 million by Duty Free Shops founder Charles Feeney through his Atlantic Philanthropies and a $133 million gift by Qualcomm founder Irwin M. Jacobs and his wife Joan.[5]

The center piece program is to be the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute.


Demolition begins on Goldwater Hospital.

Construction of the campus will require demolition of the Coler-Goldwater Specialty Hospital's south campus, and patients will be moved elsewhere. City officials say they do not have plans to close the north campus.[6]

Construction of the first academic building began in January 2014 with the arrival of equipment on Roosevelt Island for the building of a fence around the construction site and for the demolition of the existing structures. Demolition began in March 2014. Debris is being removed by barge.[7]

In December 2013, it was announced that Cornell NYC Tech would be partnering with The Hudson Companies and The Related Companies to build the first residential building on the campus. The building will have approximately 350 housing units for students, staff and faculty and will contain a mix of studios and apartments with one, two or three bedrooms. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2015.[8]


The campus, and in particular the collaboration with the Israeli university of Technion, has drawn opposition and protests.[9] Opponents of Cornell's partnership with Technion, including faculty and students at Cornell as well as activists in New York City, point to Technion's alleged implication with the Israeli occupation of Palestine as well as to an alleged lack of procedural transparency in planning the project.[10]

New Yorkers Against the Cornell-Technion Partnership, or NYACT, was formed in February 2012 in response to the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions, as well as for an academic boycott on Israel. The group criticizes Technion for its alleged involvement in the Israeli occupation of Palestine and in the construction of Israeli settlements in the Palestinian West Bank. Technion's involvement with the Israeli military in the occupied West Bank is also cited by the group as a case for boycott. The goal of NYACT is to end Cornell Tech's partnership with Technion. As of 2014, the group is active, protesting against Google's involvement in Cornell-Technion and advocating in local community board meetings against Technion.[11][12][13]

Others, such as author and journalist Max Blumenthal have also expressed their opposition to the partnership with Technion, saying, "we find [that] Roosevelt Island - one of the key institutions to evolve from this process of occupation and dispossession - is going to erect a leading institution…between Cornell and Technion which will only represent the sustainability of occupation and Israeli Apartheid; the profitability of Apartheid."[14]


The New Yorker dubbed the project "Silicon Island" (a take off on the Silicon Valley name) and "Silicon Alley - East" (a take off of the Silicon Alley nickname for Manhattan start ups).[15]

Cornell NYC Tech will eventually be located on Roosevelt Island in the East River. The university will operate from Google's offices until 2017, when the new campus's first "net-zero energy" building, to be designed by Thom Mayne of Morphosis Architects, will open. The full campus, due to be completed in 2037, will span 12 acres, or 2.1 million square feet. The complex will have views of both Manhattan and Queens.[16]

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill is designing the master plan and James Corner is doing the landscape design.[15]

The construction is on the site of the Coler-Goldwater Specialty Hospital in the south end of the island where 800 patients will be relocated to other facilities. The hospital still plans to continue its operations on the north side of the island.[17]


Cornell NYC Tech will ultimately cost developers $2 billion, including $350 million in start-up costs supplied by Cornell alumnus Charles Feeney, a wealthy philanthropist,[18] and $100 million allocated by Mayor Bloomberg. The Technion is not contributing financially to the project,[19] whose initiators maintained a low profile on the Technion-Cornell bid until ten days before New York City's deadline for proposals. Success of the bid was widely credited to the partnership with Technion-Israel Institute of Technology - a winner of Nobel prizes and incubator of high-tech businesses.[20]

On April 22, 2013 it was announced that Qualcomm co-founder and former CEO Irwin M. Jacobs and his wife Joan, both graduates of Cornell University, would be contributing $133 million to the school to create the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute (JTCII).[21]

Courses of Study[edit]

  • MEng in Computer Science
  • M.S. in Connective Media
  • Johnson Cornell Tech MBA


The curriculum that is planned for the school is said to be unique, that will be dealing with technological issues and challenges. The progress will be overseen by both an academic adviser and an industry adviser.[22][23]

When completed, the campuses will intersperse classrooms with office buildings of high-tech companies. There will also be an executive education center with hotel facilities, residential building for both student and staff, and also more than one acre of open land space.[16][22]


  1. ^ "'Game-changing' tech campus goes to Cornell, Technion". Cornell University. Retrieved 2011-12-17. 
  2. ^ Academia, Industry Converge for First Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute Workshop
  3. ^ "Stanford Unexpectedly Pulls Bid for NYC Tech Campus" - The Cornell Daily Sun. Retrieved February 2013.
  4. ^ "Technion, Cornell: profitable future for campus" - Crain's New York Business. Retrieved February 2013.
  5. ^ Kusisto, Laura (2013-04-22). "A Boost for Cornell's Tech Campus on Roosevelt Island -". Retrieved 2013-05-26. 
  6. ^ Hospital patients forced out as Roosevelt Island tech campus moves in by Amy Zimmer (DNAinfo, 3 May 2012)
  7. ^ "Roosevelt Island Campus Project". Retrieved 23 September 2014. 
  8. ^ "Roosevelt Island Campus Project". Retrieved 23 September 2014. 
  9. ^ Alicea, Tyler (1 March 2013). "New York City Coalition Decries Cornell-Technion Partnership". Cornell Daily Sun. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  10. ^ Hudson, Adam (1 March 2013). "Cornell NYC Tech's Alarming Ties to the Israeli Occupation". The Nation. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  11. ^ "BDS clashes with Zionists at Chelsea community board meeting". Nearsay. Retrieved 10 October 2014. 
  12. ^ "Technion's role in U.S. militarization and domestic spying". Mondoweiss. Retrieved 23 September 2014. 
  13. ^ "New Yorkers Against the Cornell-Technion Parntership". NYACT. Retrieved 10 October 2014. 
  14. ^ "Max Blumenthal Against the Cornell-Technion Parntership". Indypendent. Retrieved 10 October 2014. 
  15. ^ a b Lange, Alexandra. "Roosevelt Island's Cornell NYC Tech Campus, Reviewed". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2013-05-26. 
  16. ^ a b Billy Rennison - "Cornell's tech campus: unlike any other" - Forest Hills/Western COURIER - October 18–24, 2012 - page 8. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  17. ^ February 19, 2013 11:51 am (2013-02-19). "Photo Essay: Paralyzed Roosevelt Island Residents Face Displacement By Cornell". Gothamist. Retrieved 2013-05-26. 
  18. ^ Pérez-Peña, Richard, New York Times, 19 December 2011: Cornell Alumnus Is Behind $350 Million Gift to Build Science School in City
  19. ^ "Israel’s Technion making its mark in the U.S.," Jewish Journal, 28 February 2012: "[A] 'precondition for participation' was that Israel could not take funds from its own budget for investment in New York": Israel’s Technion making its mark in the U.S.
  20. ^ Pérez-Peña, Richard, New York Times, 25 December 2011: Alliance Formed Secretly to Win Deal for Campus
  21. ^ ByAnne Ju (2013-04-22). "Joan and Irwin Jacobs give $133M to name Cornell Tech institute | Cornell Chronicle". Retrieved 2013-05-26. 
  22. ^ a b Cornell NYC Tech - Cornell Tech begins first classes with unique curriculum
  23. ^ Ariel Kaminer - New Cornell Technology School Tightly Bound to Business - The New York Times - January 21, 2013 - Retrieved 27 January 2013.

External links[edit]