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From Elizabeth Garrett

CU in the City.


Weill welcome: The Medical College hosted a reception for President Elizabeth Garrett shortly after her inauguration. Attendees included Dan Huttenlocher (left), dean of Cornell Tech. (Photo provided.)

Last semester I spent a day in New York City that included the steel topping-out ceremony for the Bloomberg Center—Cornell Tech’s first academic building on Roosevelt Island—and a visit to the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning’s new academic studio space in Lower Manhattan. Designed by Gensler—the firm founded by M. Arthur Gensler ’57, BArch ’58, who with his wife, Drue, has been a longtime supporter of AAP’s program in New York—the new downtown space allows students to spend a semester on complex urban issues while taking advantage of the city for site visits, internships, and seminars with design professionals and government agencies. Those two events—one heralding a new era for Cornell in tech research and entrepreneurship, and the other augmenting our strong, well-established academic programs in planning and design with a vital urban dimension—highlight how the University is maximizing the benefits of our dual footprints in Ithaca and a great international urban center.

Cornell’s New York City programs have been serving our students and the wider public for more than 100 years. The metropolitan area is home to some 50,000 alumni. More than 3,500 of our Ithaca-based students hail from the city and its environs, and many more will move there after earning their degrees.

At Weill Cornell Medicine, Dean Laurie Glimcher and her colleagues are populating the new Belfer Research Building with outstanding physician-scientists, including Nobel Laureate Harold Varmus, and creating cross-disciplinary scientific neighborhoods in our York Avenue buildings. Weill Cornell Medicine and the Ithaca campus already engage in collaborative research on topics such as biomedical engineering, pain in later life, nanobiotechnology approaches to cancer, and reproductive genomics. Weill Cornell Medicine is also collaborating with Cornell Tech in health tech, an area led by Professor Deborah Estrin, who has faculty appointments in both units. 

Cornell University Cooperative Extension-NYC (CUCE-NYC) reaches all five boroughs with programs ranging from food and nutrition workshops for low-income adults to 4-H programs that teach middle schoolers about technology to a program at Food and Finance High School where students learn to use hydroponics and aquaponics to produce clean, fresh food.

The College of Human Ecology’s Urban Semester program already offers a wide variety of internship, service, and research opportunities. The college, in partnership with CUCE-NYC, runs the New York City extension offices, which also will accommodate staff for the Engaged Cornell initiative. We anticipate that the arrangement will enable undergraduates to take advantage of established connections in the city.

Leveraging co-location of staff and faculty in both Ithaca and New York City, the ILR school offers professional development and training programs in its Midtown facilities. In-person, peer-to-peer classes combine with technology-assisted distance learning to provide a tangible expression of the school’s outreach mission of “advancing the world of work.” Each year 2,000 professionals are served in New York City alone, through programs in conflict resolution, compensation studies, labor and employment law studies, employment and disability, human capital development, and other programs focused on workers.

Cornell Financial Engineering Manhattan, in the financial district, provides master’s students in the School of Operations Research and Information Engineering’s financial engineering program with practical understanding of financial markets through a carefully designed curriculum. A recent addition is a fully-integrated immersion semester in financial data science, which allows master’s students to deepen their knowledge in predictive modeling and big data technologies and to solve large-scale problems supplied by practitioners.

The College of Veterinary Medicine has a presence in the metro New York area through Cornell Ruffian Equine Specialists, near Belmont Racetrack, which serves as a critical emergency facility for horse owners on Long Island and hosts veterinary students for clinical rotations, as well as through its Cornell University Veterinary Specialists practice, an emergency and specialist hospital for companion animals in Stamford, Connecticut.

To enhance Cornell’s presence in the city, we are awarding feasibility and planning grants, funded through philanthropy, to create new academic programs that span Cornell Tech and Ithaca, are unlike anything currently offered, and can be sustained in the long run through revenue they generate.

Alumni already help keep our academic programs relevant to the real world and offer internships, networking, and other professional development opportunities that give graduates a competitive edge. With the growing ties between our campuses and the innovative cross-campus programs that are likely to be developed, I hope you will help us realize the potential of our dual footprints to benefit our students long after they earn their degrees.

— President Elizabeth Garrett