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September 13, 2017 2:58 pm

Israel’s Technion, Cornell Celebrate Opening of Joint Grad School in New York

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Cornell Tech’s new campus on Roosevelt Island in New York City. Photo: Iwan Baan

Cornell Tech officially dedicated its new campus on New York City’s Roosevelt Island on Wednesday, home of a major academic partnership between Cornell University and the Technion — Israel Institute of Technology.

The Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute was founded after Cornell and the Technion won a year-long competition launched in 2010 by then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who sought to transform New York City into a tech powerhouse that could compete with Silicon Valley.

With the aid of a $133 million gift from Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs and his wife, Joan Klein Jacobs, the institute welcomed its first class of students in the fall of 2014. It offers a two-year dual master’s degree in Information Systems, making the Technion — which helped fuel Israel’s reputation as a “start-up nation” — the first international university to offer accredited degrees in the United States.

Speaking at the dedication ceremony, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said, “Cornell has been dedicated to teaching advanced engineering sciences since its foundation in 1865. Technion has been an international leader, and is one of the reasons why Israel is the global leader in tech and innovation.”

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“In March, I visited Israel and we made a partnership between Technion and the New York Genome Center,” he added. “So this is going to follow on that, and we’re very, very excited.”

Cuomo also praised the partnership for helping New York “keep pace with a changing economy,” and praised Bloomberg — who also attended the ceremony — for working to secure the city’s long-term future.

The governor’s gratitude was echoed by Technion President Peretz Lavie, who recounted the words Bloomberg used in his invitation to top universities in 2010: “A once-in-a-generation opportunity to build a new university in New York City.”

“I used these words when I conveyed this magnificent idea to a group of Technion deans,” Lavie recalled. “I told them, since we have such a slim chance of winning, be wild. Be wild! Use your imagination. Think out of the box. And indeed, they did.”

Other speakers at the ceremony included New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Cornell University President Martha Pollack and Cornell Tech Dean Daniel Huttenlocher.

Cornell Tech currently has about 300 graduate students and 30 faculty members. It is expected to create up to 8,000 permanent jobs and more than $23 billion in economic activity over the next 35 years.

At a gala hosted by the American Technion Society in 2016, Alphabet Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt told attendees, “It’s Mike Bloomberg’s vision and the capability of the Technion that are going to transform New York.”

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