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Joan and Irwin Jacobs Announce $133-Million Naming Gift for the Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute

The Joan and Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute is a key component of Cornell Tech in New York City; program will offer unique dual master’s degrees.


Right to left: Consul General Ido Aharony, Prof’ Peretz Lavie, Joan and Irwin Jacobs, Prof’ Haim Gotsman. Photo credit: Jeff Weiner

/ By Ilan Shavit /
In December 2011, the Cornell and Technion partnership was selected by the City as the first winner of the Applied Sciences competition. This week Dr. Irwin Mark Jacobs, Founding Chairman and CEO Emeritus of Qualcomm, and his wife Joan Klein Jacobs, announced a $133-million gift to The partnership to create the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute (JTCII).
The JTCII is a key component of Cornell Tech, whose permanent campus will be located on Roosevelt Island.  When completed, the Roosevelt Island campus will house approximately 2, 000 full-time graduate students. The funds will help support curriculum initiatives, faculty and graduate students, and industry interactions in a two-year graduate program. The gift was announced at City Hall with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Cornell President David J. Skorton and Technion President Peretz Lavie.

The Jacobses are both Cornell alumni who have a long history of supporting both Cornell and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. They have established the Irwin M. and Joan K. Jacobs Scholars and Fellows Programs in the College of Engineering, as well as in the College of Human Ecology.

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In recognition of their distinguished service to Cornell, Dr. and Mrs. Jacobs were both elected Presidential Councillors in 2005. The Jacobses’ visionary support of the Technion as well.

A member of the Technion International Board of Governors, Dr. Jacobs is a Life Trustee of the American Technion Society (ATS) National Board of Regents, and a member of the ATS San Diego Chapter. Dr. Jacobs, along with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, serves as an advisor to Cornell Tech.

Dr. and Mrs. Jacobs are among the world’s most generous philanthropists. Their support has had a significant impact on numerous cultural, medical, educational, and civic organizations. The engineering school at the University of California, San Diego bears Dr. and Mrs. Jacobs’ names, as do the performing arts center of the campus La Jolla Playhouse and the new UCSD Medical Center.

“We are delighted to partner with Cornell and the Technion on this unique educational initiative, ” said Joan and Irwin Jacobs. “We believe strongly in the mission of this international collaboration to drive innovation and to foster economic development.”

“Cornell Tech will bring a sharp increase in science and engineering teaching, attract students from around the world, and spin off new local companies and thousands of new jobs, and inject billions of dollars into our economy, ” said Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

Craig Gotsman, the Founding Director of JTCII and the Technion’s Hewlett-Packard Professor of Computer Engineering, said, “I am proud to lead this endeavor that will help bring a global startup culture to New York and encourage the entrepreneurial efforts of our faculty and students. Together with our partners at Cornell Tech, we look forward to nurturing the next generation of applied technology leaders who will meet the needs of New York’s economy.”

“Today marks another important step forward for an initiative that we believe will transform our City for generations to come, ” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky. “Applied Sciences NYC is a key piece of our larger innovation strategy that includes ongoing efforts to foster research and training at all levels of education. I would like to thank Dr. and Mrs. Jacobs for their generosity, as well as Presidents Skorton and Lavie, for their partnership and collaboration. ”


The JTCII plans to offer a two-year interdisciplinary program where students earn dual master degrees concurrently — one from Cornell and one from the Technion. This degree program will allow students to specialize in applied information-based sciences in one of three hubs focused around leading New York City industries – Connective Media, Healthier Living and The Built Environment–while honing their entrepreneurial skills. The first area of specialization will be in Connective Media and is slated to begin in the fall of 2014. Research will also be focused on the hub areas.

A novel program for Postdoctoral Innovation Fellows will launch in Fall 2013. The aim is to support individuals who seek to commercialize their research ideas in the stimulating environment at the JTCII while taking full advantage of the entrepreneurial network of Cornell Tech and the proximity to New York City-based markets.

Cornell Tech offers a distinctive model of graduate tech education that fuses scientific excellence with real-world applications and entrepreneurship, rooted in the latest academic research. Students, faculty and industry experts learn and work together to develop ideas and create new ventures that have global impact. The campus is attracting the best and brightest in technology, immersing them in an entrepreneurial culture with deep ties to the local business community, aiming to spawn new companies and tech ventures in New York City.

This gift marks another major milestone for the campus. Cornell Tech launched its first degree program in January – a Cornell University Master of Engineering in Computer Science and is rapidly rolling out new academic programs, recruiting star faculty, developing a distinctive new model of tech entrepreneurship, and designing its permanent campus on Roosevelt Island, which will break ground early next year.

The City’s Applied Sciences NYC initiative was designed to capitalize on the considerable growth presently occurring within the science, technology and research fields in New York, and builds on the Bloomberg Administration’s dedication to creating a more diversified and competitive economy for the future.



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