Joan and Irwin Jacobs of San Diego have made a momentous gift of $133 million to name the Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute. Dr. Irwin Jacobs, founding chairman and CEO emeritus of Qualcomm, and his wife Joan will create the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute (JTCII). The JTCII is a key component of Cornell Tech, whose permanent campus will eventually be located on Roosevelt Island. The funds will help support curriculum initiatives, faculty and graduate students, and industry interactions in a two-year graduate program.
The gift was announced by New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg during a press conference at New York City Hall, together with Joan and Irwin Jacobs, Technion President Peretz Lavie and Cornell President David J. Skorton.
More after the jump.
The Jacobses are both Cornell alumni and “Technion Guardians” who have a long history of supporting both institutions. Their support of the Technion includes the Irwin and Joan Jacobs Graduate School and the Irwin and Joan Jacobs Center for Communications and Information Technologies. A member of the Technion International Board of Governors, Dr. Jacobs is a Life Trustee of the American Technion Society National Board of Regents, and a member of the ATS San Diego Chapter. He received the ATS’ highest honor, The Albert Einstein Award, in 1996, and a Technion Honorary Doctorate in 2000.
The JTCII plans to offer a two-year interdisciplinary program where students concurrently earn dual master’s degrees — 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 of the JTCII, while taking full advantage of the entrepreneurial network of Cornell Tech and the proximity to New York City-based markets. Dr. Jacobs, along with Mayor Bloomberg and Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, serves as an advisor to Cornell Tech, the overall campus that is part of Cornell University.