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Google donates NYC office space to Cornell

Cornell University president David Skorton, left, Google co-founder

Cornell University president David Skorton, left, Google co-founder and CEO Larry Page and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg after a news conference at the Google offices in Manhattan on May 21, 2012. Credit: Getty Images

Google is donating space in its Manhattan offices to Cornell University as the upstate Ivy League school continues plans to increase its presence in New York City.

The move by the California-based search-engine giant is good for 51/2 years and will help Cornell's city expansion efforts. The university is currently building a campus on Roosevelt Island in a partnership with Israel-based Technion University.

Students will begin using Google's Manhattan offices at Ninth Avenue and 15th Street this fall, officials said.

Google's chief executive, Larry Page, said Monday that the plan -- giving students 22,000 square feet at Google New York -- will help boost the city's presence in high technology education immediately. Cornell's Roosevelt Island campus will not be ready for students until at least late 2017.

"The problem is, only a small number of minds is working in our field today," Page said to an audience of students and Google employees at an auditorium at Google New York. "Yet look at what that tiny minority has achieved. Now imagine if we could double that number. . . . We can roughly double human progress. This is one small step towards that goal."

Cornell president David Skorton said that the university is "jumping in with both feet" and thanked Google for the donated space. He said that it needs no major remodeling because Cornell wants the learning area to resemble the open work spaces at companies like Google and Bloomberg.

He added that putting graduates in contact with real-life industry experts will lead to greater intellectual output, innovation and profitable technology startup firms.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who attended the announcement, said New York City's technology sector was second only to Silicon Valley in California, "and we don't like being second to anybody."

Cornell expects to have close to 100 students attending classes at the space inside Google New York in the fall, said Dan Huttenlocher, the founding dean of the Roosevelt Island campus under construction.

Huttenlocher said it's the latest collaboration between Cornell and a private company, and Google has previously collaborated with universities.

In response to questions about possible Google corporate influence on the university as a result of the donation, Skorton said that the school will be "making sure that no decisions are made on anything but the right way to do things."

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