Cornell Tech and the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute just turned 10, and we were there at the celebration to mark this momentous occasion.
It’s often said that success has many parents, and the 10-year anniversary event that took place last week on New York’s Roosevelt Island included many of the supporting family members who have created, nurtured, and actively supported this innovative, growing U.S. – Israeli higher education research and teaching joint-venture in the middle of New York City.
Chief among the guests on hand for the celebration were Professor Peretz Lavie, former Technion President, and Dr. David Skorton, former Cornell University president. This visionary pair can rightly claim the mantle of the institution’s founding forefathers, as they were the ones who joined forces to win the City’s competition with a unique joint venture approach.
In a conversation prior to the festivities, Prof. Lavie spoke of his close partnership with Dr. Skorton that was central to building the now 10 year-old institution. “There was an immediate chemistry between me and David, and a trust that was built between us. I truly believe this was a major factor in the success of the shidduch. And the quality of the people, the quality of the teams on both sides. And the vision that united us. That we are now doing something new, something revolutionary, even something provocative in the academic world.”
His fellow founding forefather – and now lifelong friend – Dr. Skorton agreed, and predicted still greater things to come from the Technion – Cornell partnership. “It’s only been 10 years, and that’s 10 years since it was decided,” he said. “Wait until we’re 20 to 30 years down the line.”
Many other luminaries who have played critical roles in the establishment, growth, and continued development of Cornell Tech and the Jacobs Institute were in attendance, including New York Mayor Eric Adams, Cornell President Martha Pollack, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Sandy and Joan Weill.
The celebration took place in the newly completed Verizon Center, a setting that drove home the breathtaking transformation of what was once barren land and an infamous hospital facility into a jewel of New York City, comprised of the most modern and environmentally friendly buildings. The landscape includes the Bloomberg Building and the Tata Building, labs and teaching facilities, a hotel, and a large student and faculty housing center.
Of course, the partnership has birthed more than just a physical campus. As Technion supporters, we can be proud of representing the only Israeli university awarding degrees in the United States, supporting collaboration between the two countries. Other examples include the I-Trek program (an annual student collaboration project), Israeli interns coming to the Jacobs Institute, and the growing collaboration between academics and the Technion. The thriving Runway Startup Postdoc program – an incubator for post-docs – develops their basic business ideas into viable concepts and includes several Technion and Israeli entrepreneurs.
Here’s to 10 more years of this game-changing partnership, and beyond.
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