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Cornell Given $350 Million for NYC Campus as Stanford Withdraws

Dec. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Cornell University announced an anonymous $350 million gift to support its bid for a proposed engineering campus in New York City hours after Stanford University said it was pulling out of the competition.

Cornell, based in Ithaca, New York, and Stanford were among 15 universities taking part in Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s competition to bring an engineering school to the city to create new companies and jobs. Stanford pulled out yesterday after failed negotiations with the city.

Cornell, which has teamed with Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, has proposed a campus with 2 million square feet for almost 2,000 students on Roosevelt Island, one of the sites offered by the city. Bloomberg has offered universities around the world the right to compete to create a new engineering campus on city-owned land. New York plans to provide $100 million for infrastructure improvements at the site.

“I am thankful and proud that this extraordinary individual gift will support Cornell’s goal to realize Mayor Bloomberg’s vision for New York City,” Cornell President David Skorton said yesterday in a statement.

Cornell already has a medical school on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. In 2009, Sanford Weill, former chief executive officer of CitiGroup Inc., donated $170 million to that institution.

Failed to Agree

Stanford and New York officials failed to reach an agreement on a number of points, including whether the school could withdraw from the project without penalties, said a person familiar with some of the negotiations who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly. The impasse was partly a result of the different cultures and expectations of a private university and a major city, the person said.

An earlier stumbling block over environmental liability was settled and not the reason for the withdrawal, the person said.

The mayor invited proposals in July for the right to open a “world-class” campus for engineering and applied science, and on Oct. 27 he said he may award multiple winners. The project may generate $6 billion in economic activity with as many as 400 new companies and 22,000 permanent jobs in its first 30 years, Bloomberg said.

Stanford, located near Palo Alto, California, had proposed a $2.5 billion campus on Roosevelt Island to be built over 30 years to house 200 professors and 2,000 students. The university planned to invest $100 million of its own money and embark on a 10-year fundraising campaign to build the campus. The university had announced a partnership with City College of New York, which would be its temporary home when it opened 2013.

The mayor is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, parent of Bloomberg News.

To contact the reporters on this story: Oliver Staley in New York at; Henry Goldman in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jonathan Kaufman at

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