Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute names first endowed professor
By Melanie Lefkowitz
Ari Juels, a Technion-affiliated professor of computer science at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech, has been named the Weill Family Foundation and Joan and Sanford I. Weill Professor – the first endowed professorship at the institute.
“Ari is an extraordinarily prolific and successful scholar,” said Ron Brachman, director of the Jacobs Institute. “Even before he came to us, while in industry and leading a team, his publication record was amazing, easily the equal of tenured faculty at the best institutions.”
Juels is also a co-director of the Institute for Cryptocurrencies and Contracts. His areas of expertise include blockchain, cryptocurrency and smart contracts, as well as applied cryptography, cloud security, user authentication and privacy.
“I feel truly honored to have been appointed Weill Family Foundation and Joan and Sanford I. Weill Professor,” Juels said. “I am also immensely grateful to the Weill family not just for their support of the Jacobs Institute and Cornell Tech, but for their sustained philanthropic commitment to so many important elements of our community: Higher education, financial technology, health care and biomedical science, classical music and the city of New York.”
Before joining the Jacobs Institute faculty in 2014, Juels was the chief scientist at RSA, the security division of Dell EMC. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.
Juels’ publications have been cited nearly 32,000 times, Brachman said – a sign of his influence and the impact of his research.
“The community pays attention to what he has to write,” Brachman said. When he was handling Juels’ successful tenure case, “the feedback and the letters I received made it clear he was a scholar of international renown.”
Brachman said this also marks the first time an endowed chair has been bestowed on a Technion-affiliated faculty member outside of the Technion–Israel Institute of Technology’s main campus in Haifa, Israel.
“This is quite special in a number of ways,” Brachman said. “For Cornell Tech, this shows the quality of the faculty that we have here, and it enhances the solidity of our reputation.”
The Jacobs Institute was founded in 2012 as a joint academic venture between Cornell and Technion. The institute emphasizes a transdisciplinary view of science and encourages impactful, translational research for social good through its industry-focused “hubs.” Current Jacobs hubs focus on health technology and connective media, with a new hub concentrating on urban technology under development.
Joan and Sanford Weill are among Cornell’s most generous donors, having made gifts to support people and programs on all three of the university's campuses – at Weill Cornell Medicine, in Ithaca, and now on Roosevelt Island. Their commitment to endow the Weill Family Foundation and Joan and Sanford I. Weill Professor at the Jacobs Institute was made through the American Technion Society.