News

Stanford proposes campus in New York City

Roosevelt Island venue would test concepts of a 21st century university, Hennessy says

Visions of a Stanford University campus beneath a Manhattan skyline were sketched out by Stanford President John Hennessy Thursday in a presentation on the university's bid to develop a research center in New York City.

Stanford's plan for a New York campus -- starting with 475 students and professors in engineering and computer science, and growing to 2,100 in many disciplines -- comes in response to a preliminary request from proposals by New York City's Economic Development Corporation.

Stanford is among 27 institutions, including Cornell, Columbia, Carnegie Mellon and New York University, responding to the request. New York City officials are due to select a bidder by the end of the year.

Hennessy and other Stanford leaders laid out a three-phase plan for a 10-acre campus on Roosevelt Island, a two-minute subway ride from Manhattan. The presentation came in Hennessy's annual address to the university's Academic Council, which was followed by a panel discussion of the New York proposal.

Stanford's Big Apple vision includes 20-story residential towers and a collection of 200,000-square-foot academic buildings situated around an open green space "not unlike Stanford." Cafes, recreation and gym space, an auditorium and retail would line the East River facing Manhattan.

Stanford New York would be "integrated" with Stanford Palo Alto, not just replicating things on a smaller scale, Hennessy said.

Through videoconferencing, students in both Palo Alto and New York would take classes and interact, in real time, with professors in one or both locations.

"Rather than have two computer science departments, for example, we envision one department with perhaps 25 percent of its faculty at the New York campus," Hennessy said.

The far-flung campus would exemplify a "massive transformation" in higher education and industry that is being driven by technology, he stressed.

"This is the future. This is the direction we're going in.

"It has already happened in companies. You simply go down the (Silicon) Valley and look at how many companies have distributed engineering teams that are collaborating across the world," said Hennessy, who sits on the boards of Atheros Communications, Cisco Systems and Google.

"Why this will occur is because the technology will make it possible."

The New York venture will be a test of three propositions, said James Plummer, dean of Stanford's School of Engineering.

"Can a world-class research university in the 21st century really be geographically distributed?

"Can distance education systems work well enough so that a campus in New York City can look and be and feel part of this (Palo Alto) campus?"

Plummer said the venture also will answer the question of whether "the entrepreneurial culture and character of Stanford and Silicon Valley (can) be replicated in another site."

Though starting with Stanford's strengths in electrical engineering and computer science, the New York campus eventually could grow in a variety of disciplines, the officials said, naming history and financial mathematics among others.

Hennessy also proposed, to laughter from the faculty audience, "an undergraduate study program in banking and ethics."

Hennessy said Stanford has received many invitations to establish campuses and programs around the world, particularly in Asia. New York is especially appealing, he said, because it is closer in time zone and does not present language barriers or difficulties with academic freedom.

New York also presents research opportunities to solve some of the problems of 21st century mega-cities, he said.

Though Stanford officials Thursday described a plan for Roosevelt Island, they said they have not ruled out other New York City sites, including Manhattan proper.

But alluding to Roosevelt Island, Robert Reidy, Stanford's vice-president for real estate, noted, 10 acres "in close proximity to Manhattan is really hard to come by."

A mechanical engineering student said any Stanford campus in New York would have to have a fountain so that people will say, "That's so Stanford."

Hennessy added, "As a native New Yorker, I'm looking forward to New York pizza."

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by nyc
a resident of another community
on Apr 15, 2011 at 9:00 am

There aren't any good colleges in New York. Glad to hear they are finally getting one.


Like this comment
Posted by Evan
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 15, 2011 at 9:59 am

You're right. Columbia and NYU are pretty crap.


Like this comment
Posted by The-World-Is-My-Campus
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2011 at 10:48 am

> Pizza ..

Yep .. NYC pizza is pretty good. Although Chicago deep-dish pizza is also a fav too ..

> Stanford's plan for a New York campus -- starting with 475
> students and professors in engineering and computer science, and
> growing to 2,100 in many disciplines -- comes in response to a
> request from proposals by New York City's Economic Development
> Corporation.

No mention of traffic, or traffic mitigation fees. Will these students/staff/vendors/visitors generate much traffic? Or will they all use the subway, and not generate any surface traffic?

Will NY also grant Stanford the same tax-exempt status that it enjoys here in California--pushing the impact of its campus onto the backs of the businesses and homeowners, in terms of increased taxes?


Like this comment
Posted by nyc
a resident of another community
on Apr 15, 2011 at 10:52 am

When was the last time you drove a private car in NYC? Everyone takes the bus or subway or even bicycles. Private cars are so 20th century.


Like this comment
Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Apr 15, 2011 at 12:12 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by The-World-Is-My-Campus
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2011 at 12:47 pm

> When was the last time you drove a private car in NYC?

Here's a web-site that offers a little info on NYC traffic. Not clear if these video cameras are tracking any subway traffic .. but surface traffic does get a little attention:

Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by In Decline
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2011 at 2:44 pm

I think this would be great for Stanford. Trying to build anything on their main campus here has become a nightmare of Palo Alto City obstruction for Stanford.

Building a Medical Center in Redwood City and now a satellite Campus in New York makes sense. Who knows in 20 years time they may move the whole kit and caboodle back east. Then watch Palo Alto decline as Stanford slowly moves out.


Like this comment
Posted by Paul Losch
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 15, 2011 at 2:46 pm

I would like to take another view on this matter of a Stanford "satellite campus." It happens to be NYC, but it could be anywhere.

A few data points before I express my point of view.

I am amazed how many major Universities now offer in the Bay Area MBA degrees. They, in addition to California schools doing so. To whit: Cornell, Columbia, Carnegie Mellon, all great schools with fine MBA programs. California schools offering MBA’s and promoting them like crazy are on the internet, public broadcasting and other venues.

Wall Street is (for better or worse) an extremely early adopter of certain new technology. I have spent time in past years with boutique firms that were working on assignments for the likes of Goldman Sachs where we were developing things that kept them at the cutting edge of what Wall Street does.

Middlebury College, based in the isolated environs of Vermont, recently acquired the Monterrey, CA Institute of International Studies.

College students in this cohort are blessed with many opportunities to experience a learning experience somewhere else in the world, away from their main campuses.

All that said, I view John Hennesey’s concept as a sad development, given his and Stanford’s thought leadership of where higher education is going.

There is so much more to a college education, especially at places like the Farm, that go beyond the curriculum or any paticular area of study.

I am OK with various universities “branching out” for graduate programs, be it MBA programs, Engineering or other degrees. But I draw the line for college level students. Be on the main campus.


Like this comment
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 16, 2011 at 10:05 pm

So when Cal opened the "Southern Branch" (later to be known as UCLA), that was a mistake?


Like this comment
Posted by HowardBaldwin
a resident of another community
on Apr 18, 2011 at 8:30 am

But there already is a SUNY! (State University of New York)


Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of Stanford
on Apr 18, 2011 at 5:39 pm

'the venture also will answer the question of whether "the entrepreneurial culture and character of Stanford and Silicon Valley (can) be replicated in another site."'

NY, NY has the most high tech workers of any city in the US. I think they already have an entrepreneurial culture and frankly Silicon Valley's is greatly exagerated.

Big question is why NY would choose a conservative Republican white bread institution from California rather than one of their own colleges to build a campus in cosmopolitan NY. Just don't see it.


Like this comment
Posted by Gerry
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 26, 2011 at 10:42 pm

To John: Stanford is NOT a conservative Republican "white bread" university. Despite the Hoover Institute, it's students and faculty are overwhelmingly liberal politically. And its minority student population approaches or exceeds 50%.

To Paul Losch: The Stanford New York campus would NOT be an undergraduate campus; just for higher degrees.

To current Stanford students who are concerned about a New York Campus: The project will enhance Stanford's reputation on the East Coast, where, sadly, it's often ignored in the East Coast bias towards Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. Thus, the project has the potential to substantially increase Stanford's United States, and worldwide reputation, potentially allowing it to eventually surpass Harvard in stature, so that Harvard will become known by all, not just Stanford students, as the "Stanford of the East."

Stanford's stature will also be improved by a New York campus, because the New York campus allows Stanford to attract both top-notch faculty and students who would otherwise want to attend Stanford, but prefer to live on the East Coast, in a major world-renown city.

Bottom line: it's a win win for New York (getting the best university in the world!), AND Stanford as well!


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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