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The Atlantic Philanthropies To Support Cornell University’s New Tech Campus in New York City

Resource type: News

The Atlantic Philanthropies |

Aerial View of Proposed Tech Campus
Rendering: Aerial view of NYC Tech Campus courtesy of Cornell University. 

The City of New York has partnered with Cornell University and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology for its Applied Sciences NYC initiative, which will transform more than 10 acres of Roosevelt Island into an engineering and applied sciences campus organized around interdisciplinary hubs of learning.

In announcing the winning bid on December 19, 2011, to develop a new academic model focused on creating and growing tech companies in New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg called the Cornell-Technion proposal “the boldest and most ambitious,” as it includes a plan for 2,500 students, 280 faculty and state-of-the-art classroom and research space on a 2-million-square-foot campus when fully built. The Cornell plan also proposes opening in temporary leased facilities in the city in the fall of 2012, and completing Phase 1 construction on Roosevelt Island by 2017.

The Atlantic Philanthropies are pleased to be able to support this initiative.  Atlantic’s President and CEO, Christopher G. Oechsli, said: “Founding Chairman Chuck Feeney’s offer of $350 million is very much in keeping with his bold vision and Atlantic’s desire, as a limited life foundation, to invest in program opportunities that offer significant impact.  We are working closely with Cornell to ensure that our support allows us to advance the missions of both our institutions.”

Mr. Oechsli added: “This effort will create up to 20,000 construction jobs in the city; will be a magnet for world-class researchers, young entrepreneurs and business incubators; and also will offer eye-opening experiences for thousands of K-12 students, many of whom would not have had such opportunities otherwise.”

Plans for this groundbreaking initiative include an ambitious community service outreach component. Cornell will be working with New York’s Department of Education to define specific programs to support hundreds of teachers and thousands of K-12 students across the city. Through experiential learning, these programs will aim to help students develop a deep, genuine interest in science, technology, engineering and math, and will prepare them for college and further technical education—all of which are keys to ultimately growing the city’s tech sector. Other planned efforts include being a driver of innovation and new technologies that will lead to healthier lifestyles.

Cornell is well-known for cultivating entrepreneurship among its students, alumni and faculty, and Technion is recognized as one of the leading entrepreneurial universities in the world.

Atlantic has a long history of supporting transformational higher education and medical research projects all over the world, including the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (Ireland); University of California San Francisco Medical Center (United States); University of the Western Cape (South Africa); research institutions in Australia; and significant investments to strengthen Vietnam’s health care infrastructure. Atlantic, through its Founding Chairman’s program initiatives and in other ways, has also been a long-time donor to Cornell University.


Fly-through of Proposed NYC Tech Campus
Animated aerial and interior views of the proposed NYC Tech Campus on Roosevelt Island. If built today, the campus’ 150,000-square-foot core academic building would be the largest net-zero energy building in the eastern United States and among the top four largest such buildings in the United States.

Video from Cornell University’s Youtube Channel

Learn More

> Visit Cornell’s NYC Tech Campus website

> Visit NYCEDC’s Applied Sciences NYC website

> Atlantic Founding Chairman’s Program, “Stories of Impact”

In the Media

 > Cornell Alumnus Is Behind $350 Million Gift to Build Science School in City, The New York Times, 19 December 2011

> Donor Steps Forward, Wall Street Journal, 20 December 2011

> Cornell’s New York City Bid Got Help From Low-Key Billionaire, The Chronicle of Higher Education,  20 December 2011