Cornell Tech

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Cornell Tech
Cornell NYC Tech logo.png
Type Private
Established 2012 (2012)
Postgraduates 2,000 [1]
Location New York City, New York, U.S.

Cornell Tech is the technology-focused campus of Cornell University located in New York City. In operation since 2012, Cornell Tech is a research and graduate-level education institution, offering programs at the professional masters, doctoral and postdoctoral levels.[2] Cornell Tech includes the Joan & Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute, a partnership between Cornell University and the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. The Cornell Tech campus is currently located in a temporary site, the 111 Eighth Avenue building in Chelsea, Manhattan. A new permanent campus is being constructed on Roosevelt Island, with the first 3 buildings opening in 2017.[3]



In 2008 the Bloomberg administration in NYC recruited Steven Strauss,[4][5] an American economist and former McKinsey & Company management consultant,[6] to oversee a series of research projects looking at the future of NYC's economy in the context of global economic trends. The analysis concluded that NYC had significant opportunities in the high tech sector and recommended a series of initiatives to better capitalize on these developments, these recommendations included but were not limited to: creation of string of incubators, an early stage investment fund, NYC Big Apps, etc. An important recommendation was that a key factor for success in these markets would be increasing the quality and quantity of technology talent in NYC.[7][8][9][10][11] In response to this recommendation Mayor Bloomberg created a competition among leading universities to expand applied sciences in NYC (Applied Sciences NYC) with a focus on entrepreneurship and job creation. As a first step in this competition process in December 2010[12] NYC requested expressions of interest from leading universities (in NYC, in the United States, and outside the United States) about expanding existing campuses in NYC (e.g., Columbia University and New York University) or bringing in an outside university (e.g., Cornell or Stanford), and in March 2011 some 18 universities responded.[13] Next, in July 2011 NYC published a request for proposals for the building of the actual applied sciences campus[14] and in October 2011 seven universities submitted formal proposals to build the new applied sciences campus.[15]

Finally on December 19, 2011, then-New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that Cornell University and its partner, the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, had submitted the winning response to the July 2011 request for proposals for a new applied sciences and technology campus to be built on Roosevelt Island in Manhattan.[16] The winning proposal 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.[17] Part of the new 'School of Genius' in New York City has been named the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute.[18]

The New York City Economic Development Corporation awarded the project to Cornell 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.[19] Cornell Tech began classes in January 2013 in temporary classrooms supplied by Google in its office building located at 111 Eighth Avenue in the Chelsea neighborhood.[20]

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.[21]

There were multiple protests over several aspects of the building plan. Roosevelt Island residents expressed dismay over the transportation and security costs of building a major academic center in the small area, and workers and patients at a hospital on the island were upset that it will be shut down and then demolished as part of the project. In addition, numerous pro-Palestinian advocacy groups, including individuals at Cornell and NYC locals, demanded the project be scrapped because it included an Israeli university, Technion.[22] The complaints failed to gain any traction or wide support and the Cornell Tech plans have been approved and gone ahead as scheduled.[23]

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


Demolition of 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.[24]

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.[25]

In December 2013, it was announced that Cornell 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.[26]


Cornell Tech was dubbed "Silicon Island" by The New Yorker, a magazine, and "Silicon Alley East", a spin-off of the "Silicon Alley" nickname for Manhattan start-ups.[27]

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill is designing the master plan and James Corner is doing the landscape design.[27] Cornell 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 (5 ha). The complex, due to its location in the middle of the East River, will have views of both Manhattan Island and Queens.[28] 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.[29]

The first phase of construction will include four buildings:

  • Bloomberg Center, the main academic building [3][30]
  • The Bridge, a corporate co-location building[31]
  • Student Housing
  • Verizon Executive Education Center[32]


Cornell Tech will ultimately cost developers $2 billion, including $350 million in start-up costs supplied by Cornell alumnus Charles Feeney, a wealthy philanthropist,[33] and $100 million allocated from the city Mayor Bloomberg. Technion is not contributing financially to the project,[34] 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.[35]

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).[36] On February 2, 2015 it was announced that Verizon Communications had donated $50 million to the project and on June 15, 2015, it was announced that the Bloomberg Philanthropies would donate $100 million to the project.[30][37]

Masters Programs[edit]

1-Year Programs[edit]

  • Johnson Cornell Tech MBA
  • MEng in Computer Science
  • MEng in Operations Research and Information Engineering - coming in fall 2016
  • Master of Laws (LLM) - coming in fall 2016

2-Year Programs (offered by Jacobs Institute)[edit]

  • MS in Information Systems, Connective Media
  • MS in Information Systems, Health Tech


The curriculum of Cornell Tech is said to be unique, dealing with modern technological issues and challenges in a multi-disciplinary context. The progress is overseen by both an academic advisor and an industry adviser.[38][39]


MBA and MEng students share about 40 percent of their coursework. This curriculum includes:

  • Conversations in the Studio—This practicum features a weekly guest practitioner for a provocative, closed-door discussion with students. The guest practitioners are active entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, social entrepreneurs, engineers, designers, artists, VCs, lawyers, writers, ethicists, and other diverse leaders who are impacting society though their entrepreneurial efforts. Past visitors have included Yancey Strikler, CEO of Kickstarter; Jennifer Dulski, President & COO of; Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Alphabet Inc.; and Brad Short, Distinguished Technologist at HP.
  • Studio/Startup Studio
  • Entrepreneurial Lens/Project Management

Runway Program[edit]

The Runway Program funds postdocs to start entrepreneurial ventures. Prominent startups include

Notable faculty[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Cornell Tech - About". Cornell University. Retrieved 2015-07-26. 
  3. ^ a b Here’s a glimpse of Cornell’s new tech campus, the future of NY startup scene by Ruth Reader;; Nov 17 2015
  4. ^ "The Silicon Alley 100: Steven Strauss". Business Insider. Retrieved 2016-06-03. 
  5. ^ "Strauss brings wealth of entrepreneurial, policy knowledge to Wilson school - The Daily Princetonian". Retrieved 2016-06-03. 
  6. ^ "Our Alumni - Yale School of Management Doctoral Program". Yale School of Management. 2013-06-20. Retrieved 2016-06-03. 
  7. ^ Flamm, Matthew. "City releases Media.NYC.2020's official report". Crain's New York Business. Retrieved 2016-06-03. 
  8. ^ "Media.NYC.2020". Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Retrieved 2016-06-03. 
  9. ^ "11 Startups Reshaping NYC's Fashion Industry - PSFK". PSFK. 2012-09-07. Retrieved 2016-06-03. 
  10. ^ "Edutech.NYC.2020". NYCEDC. Retrieved 2016-06-03. 
  11. ^ "Media.NYC.2020". NYCEDC. Retrieved 2016-06-03. 
  13. ^ Glaeser, Edward L. "Done Right, New Applied Science Center for New York Makes Sense". The New York Times, Economix Blog. Retrieved 2016-06-03. 
  15. ^ "Mayor Bloomberg Announces Next Steps in City's Groundbreaking Economic Development Initiative Seeking a New or Expanded Applied Sciences Campus in New York City". The official website of the City of New York. 2011-10-31. Retrieved 2016-06-03. 
  16. ^ Pérez-peña, Richard (2011-12-19). "Cornell Chosen to Build Science School in New York City". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-06-03. 
  17. ^ "'Game-changing' tech campus goes to Cornell, Technion". Cornell University. Retrieved 2011-12-17. 
  18. ^ Academia, Industry Converge for First Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute Workshop
  19. ^ "Stanford Unexpectedly Pulls Bid for NYC Tech Campus" - The Cornell Daily Sun. Retrieved February 2013.
  20. ^ "Technion, Cornell: profitable future for campus" - Crain's New York Business. Retrieved February 2013.
  21. ^ Kusisto, Laura (2013-04-22). "A Boost for Cornell's Tech Campus on Roosevelt Island -". Retrieved 2013-05-26. 
  22. ^ "News & updates: New Yorkers Against Cornell Technion Partnership". New Yorkers Against Cornell Technion Partnership. 2012-04-04. Retrieved 2016-06-03. 
  23. ^ Scott, Gale. "Roosevelt Island: Parsing the tech campus". Crain's New York Business. Retrieved 2016-06-03. 
  24. ^ Hospital patients forced out as Roosevelt Island tech campus moves in by Amy Zimmer (DNAinfo, 3 May 2012)
  25. ^ "Roosevelt Island Campus Project". Retrieved 23 September 2014. 
  26. ^ "Roosevelt Island Campus Project". Retrieved 23 September 2014. 
  27. ^ a b Lange, Alexandra. "Roosevelt Island's Cornell NYC Tech Campus, Reviewed". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2013-05-26. 
  28. ^ Billy Rennison - "Cornell's tech campus: unlike any other" - Forest Hills/Western COURIER - October 18–24, 2012 - page 8. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  29. ^ "Photo Essay: Paralyzed Roosevelt Island Residents Face Displacement By Cornell". Gothamist. 2013-02-19. Retrieved 2013-05-26. 
  30. ^ a b Bloomberg Philanthropies Gives $100 Million to Cornell Tech The New York Times By ELIZABETH A. HARRIS; JUNE 15, 2015
  31. ^ Cornell Tech campus construction on pace for 2017 phase 1 By IVAN PEREIRA; November 17, 2015
  32. ^ $50 million naming gift from Verizon Communications
  33. ^ Pérez-Peña, Richard, New York Times, 19 December 2011: Cornell Alumnus Is Behind $350 Million Gift to Build Science School in City
  34. ^ "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.
  35. ^ Pérez-Peña, Richard, New York Times, 25 December 2011: Alliance Formed Secretly to Win Deal for Campus
  36. ^ Anne Ju (2013-04-22). "Joan and Irwin Jacobs give $133M to name Cornell Tech institute | Cornell Chronicle". Retrieved 2013-05-26. 
  37. ^ Verizon paying $50 million for naming rights at NYC tech campus by Ben Fischer, New York Business Journal; February 2, 2015
  38. ^ Cornell NYC Tech - Cornell Tech begins first classes with unique curriculum
  39. ^ Ariel Kaminer - New Cornell Technology School Tightly Bound to Business - The New York Times - January 21, 2013 - Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  40. ^ Blattberg, Eric (2014-04-15). "NY Gets New Bootcamp for Data Scientists: It's free but Harder to get into than Harvard". Venture Beat. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°44′27″N 74°00′08″W / 40.740922°N 74.002171°W / 40.740922; -74.002171