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December 24, 2018 4:38 pm

Cornell University, Technion Partnership ‘a Major Selling Point’ in Attracting Amazon to NYC

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

Cornell Tech was recently reported to be one of the factors that convinced Amazon to open a headquarters in Long Island City — a decision bolstered by the graduate school’s Israeli connections, an official with the American Technion Society told The Algemeiner.

Born out of a partnership between Cornell University and the Haifa-based Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, which jointly won a 2010 contest launched by then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg to diversify the city’s economy, Cornell Tech welcomed its first class in 2014, and officially moved into its home on New York City’s Roosevelt Island last year.

The New York Times reported last week that Cornell Tech has since become “a major selling point in the bid to persuade Amazon to build a headquarters in Queens,” with company executives visiting the campus while considering New York City’s proposal. The school’s founding dean and vice provost, Daniel Huttenlocher, is also a part of the board of directors at Amazon.

After a year-long competition, the company announced its decision last month to open two new headquarters — one across the river from Cornell Tech, and another in Arlington, Virginia.

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The student-run Cornell Daily Sun welcomed the announcement, saying it “opens the door to exciting new academic and commercial possibilities for students and faculty at Tech, and will no doubt launch the nascent graduate school to the top of any potential applicant’s list (and more than a few rankings lists as well, we’d imagine).”

Despite a small starting class size, more than 500 Cornell Tech graduates have been hired to date by leading technology companies like Google and Microsoft, while others have launched companies through the Runway Startup Postdoc Program at the school’s Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute — among them the Israeli baby monitor developer Nanit, noted Tova Kantrowitz, senior adviser for strategic partnerships at American Technion Society.

She pointed to testimony from a student at the institute, who described it as “different than any other graduate program, because we have the full reach of the Technion and the Israeli culture that’s really built into what Jacobs represents.”

The Technion’s academic partnerships in New York and in China — where it teamed up with Shantou University to inaugurate the Guangdong Technion-Israel Institute of Technology last year — give it a “global presence,” she added, and allow it to “educate many more students.”

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