The groundbreaking of Cornell’s tech campus on Roosevelt Island created a rare opportunity for New York Mayor Bill de Blasio to stand side by side with his billionaire predecessor.
De Blasio and former mayor Michael Bloomberg toured the campus Tuesday, and were caught in a number of photographs, before announcing that the latter had made a donation of $100 million to the school.
The donation will be used to build the first academic building on the school’s Roosevelt Island Campus, it will be called the Bloomberg Center in honor of Bloomberg’s daughters, Emma and Georgina.
Three and a half years ago, Cornell Tech received $400 million to build an applied sciences campus on Roosevelt Island after being selected as the winner of New York City Economic Development Corporation’s Applied Sciences NYC initiative. The Bloomberg-era initiative sought proposals for a university to develop a campus in partnership with the city.
Currently, Cornell Tech is located at a temporary location in Chelsea with about 15 world-class faculty members, an additional 15 on research and development staff, two dozen Ph.D. students in several disciplines and four master’s programs.
The majority of Cornell Tech’s nearly 100 alumni are either pursuing their own startups or working at tech companies throughout New York City.
“By bringing together academia and industry in the service of invention and innovation, Cornell Tech will provide a pathway to opportunity for thousands of New Yorkers,” Mayor De Blasio said in a press release.
Cornell Tech is also working to spur technology education in NYC public schools and has already partnered with more than a dozen local schools on Roosevelt Island including P.S./I.S. 217. The school is working to submit a name change, a process that can take one to two years. The new proposed name is the Cornell Tech Roosevelt Island School, according to the Parent Teacher Association of P.S./I.S. 217 website.
Cornell Tech will contribute to teacher training and support, STEM education, after-school programming courses, career day options and more at P.S./I.S. 217.
When fully completed, the Cornell Tech campus will include 2 million square feet of state-of-the-art buildings, over 2 acres of open space and will be home to more than 2,000 graduate students and hundreds of faculty and staff.
The campus will be constructed in three phases and will be complete in 2043.