New graduate fellowship supports Cornell Tech

John Batkowski/Provided
Students enrolled at Cornell Tech participate in a regular Friday practicum with New York City tech sector professionals and entrepreneurs, who visit with students each week to make presentations and participate in workshops.

Just weeks after the start of its "beta" class of eight students, Cornell NYC Tech has announced the creation of the James H. and Marilyn H. Simons Graduate Fellowship, established with a $2.5 million commitment. Named after its benefactors, the gift will further Cornell Tech's mission of advancing New York through the intersection of academia and industry.

"This fellowship demonstrates a tremendous vote of confidence in Cornell Tech's promise of turning research and discovery into innovations that will create jobs and change lives in New York City and beyond," said President David Skorton.

Daniel Huttenlocher, dean of the tech campus, added: "This gift is a fantastic start to the fellowship funding that is so critical to supporting the best and brightest students at Cornell Tech. Through its combination of endowment and current-use funds, the gift is both immediate and far-reaching." The fellowship currently provides financial support for two students in the inaugural class and is expected to grow as the endowment grows, supporting more students in the years to come, according to the dean.

Through personal gifts and with contributions made through the Simons Foundation, the Simonses have supported their alma maters and many educational organizations and institutions over the decades. In recent years, the foundation, which seeks to advance research in mathematics and the basic sciences, has made several gifts to Cornell, including support for Cornell University Library's arXiv (an open-access digital archive of scientific papers) and grants to faculty such as the Simons Investigators Award, given to computer science professor Jon Kleinberg in 2012.

A mathematics professor turned hedge fund entrepreneur, James Simons holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in the same field from the University of California-Berkeley. He is president of Euclidean Capital and board chair of the Simons Foundation and Renaissance Technologies LLC, an investment firm in New York. He has taught at MIT, Harvard and SUNY Stony Brook, and is the founder and chairman of Math for America, a nonprofit organization that advances science and mathematics education in public secondary schools across the United States.

Marilyn Simons holds a bachelor's and a doctoral degree in economics from SUNY Stony Brook, and she is the president of the Simons Foundation. She is also vice president of the board of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, known for its path-breaking research related to cancer, genomics and other related fields.

"Cornell Tech's mission aligns closely with our own philanthropic interests and our hopes for a stronger, more energized New York," James Simons stated. "We see Cornell Tech as a catalyst for making this happen."

"We recognize that the vitality of the tech campus depends on the caliber of its students," Marilyn Simons added. "This fellowship is an investment in the talents and ingenuity of a new generation of scientists and industry leaders."

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