Cornell Opens High-Tech Roosevelt Island Campus to Rival Silicon Valley

The technology-focused graduate school hopes to encourage growth of New York City tech sector.

September 14, 2017 12:45 pm
Cornell Tech
A view of 'The Bridge' building on the new campus of Cornell Tech on Roosevelt Island, September 13, 2017 in New York City. Seven years ago, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg created a competition that invited top universities to open an applied-science campus in New York City. Cornell Tech, an engineering and science campus of Cornell University, officially opened its doors on Wednesday. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The Cornell Tech campus was dedicated on Wednesday on Roosevelt Island, the skinny, two-mile-long strip of land between Manhattan and Queens in the East River.

The technology-focused graduate school came to be after a 2010 competition by the Bloomberg administration, reports the New York Times. Top-flight universities competed for $100 million along with a stretch of city-owned land on Roosevelt Island. Cornell University and its partner, the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology were declared the winners.

Cornell Tech hopes to encourage the growth of the New York City tech sector by offering about a dozen masters and Ph.D. programs in tech and science programs, like information science and electrical and computer engineering, writes the Times. The school itself has been in operation since 2012, but has been based in the Google building in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood.

Bloomberg Philanthropies also gave an additional $100 million to the project for its main academic building, reports the Times. The building has open seating plans for Ph.D. candidates and faculty and has rooms that are soundproof for privacy. There are also small meeting rooms and large art installations. It is named the Emma and Georgina Bloomberg Center, for former mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s daughters.

The Bloomberg Center has an environmentally conscious design, and it aims to generate as much electricity as it uses. Daniel Huttenlocher, the dean and vice provost of Cornell Tech, told the Times that the architecture of the building also represents the college’s goals of melding academia and industry.

Roosevelt Island is home to just 14,000 people and formally house a prison, a mental asylum, a smallpox hospital, and a workhouse, writes the Times. 

The campus is currently only one-third built, but the Times reports that major phases of construction should by done by 2037.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.