The initial results of the creative genius and foresight fostered by the Bloomberg mayoral administration were formally inaugurated Sept.13 as Israel’s Technion and Cornell University opened the first phase—there will be two more—of the the high-tech research center housed on the gleaming “green,” net zero carbon footprint, solar and geothermal, well-enhanced, energy-efficient campus the two share. The $2 billion enterprise is built with efficiency, energy, cooperation and ardent belief in future accomplishments. The glass walls of the interior spaces reflect the design style Bloomberg has used for decades—both in his corporate offices and mayoral headquarters—and afford privacy while encouraging interaction.
The physical campus is amazing: an academic oasis in the midst of the city, a separated yet wholly integrated resource not only for Israel and America, but also for the international community.Bloomberg, a lead speaker, was deservedly honored, enjoying the festivities from his first-row seat. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Technion President Peretz Lavie were among the speakers. Lavie stressed the valuable integration of Israel’s “startup” initiatives and Cornell’s technological expertise.
Former Mayor Bloomberg said, “In many ways, this project helps bring New York City back to the future.”
Bloomberg’s administration provided the project’s initial stimulus, offering a “land grant” of acres once occupied by Goldwater Hospital, financial support from New York City and, eventually, a personal contribution of over $100 million. The Bloomberg Center is named in his honor.
His challenge to academic institutions was to make creative use of these resource—and of the technical talent of the city. Within two years, the winning partners, Cornell and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, had initiated classes in space lent by Google.
As the campus formally opens, 300 graduate students taught by 30 faculty members are already in residence, and the excitement is palpable. Technion professors are full faculty members, and Jacobs Institute (Technion) graduates also receive a degree from Cornell. The fields of healthcare, business, education, law, architecture, media, urban studies, computer science and engineering are included in the center’s curriculum.
Academic advances are directly tied to improving real lives. Even prior to its official opening, 34 practical-application patents had been registered. Furthermore, the “open campus” philosophy welcomes use of the center by those connected as well as those not, allowing it to benefit both corporate sponsors and community members.