Eastward, ho!

President Hennessy spoke about the plans for the New York City campus during his address to the Academic Council yesterday in the Jen-Hsun Engineering center.  He was flanked by an enormous image of himself projected on to the NVIDIA screen to his left presumably so that the audience could have the full Hennessy experience.  His speech, sprinkled with the terms “dynamic” “innovation” “culture” and “entrepreneurial”, cleverly combined buzz words appropriate to New York City and Silicon Valley.  However, just because you can talk about these places in the same sentence, does not mean they automatically work together.  In fact, Jim Plummer, Dean of the School of Engineering, stated that a large challenge will be “making the campus look, feel and be a part of us,” and not just an appendage to the Palo Alto campus.

[![](http://blog.stanfordreview.org/content/images/2011/04/hennessy-095-300x225.jpg)](http://blog.stanfordreview.org/2011/04/15/eastward-ho/hennessy-095/)
Members of the Academic Council fill the NVIDIA Auditorium
So how will Stanford graft itself on to New York City?  Roosevelt Island, located on the East River sandwiched between Manhattan and Queens,  has been tentatively selected for the campus site, and is a clever choice due to its proximity to Manhattan (two minutes by subway) and relative isolation from traditional NYC freneticism.    The island is inhabited by about 12,000 people, is about two miles long and has a width of approximately 800 feet.  Stanford is looking at a ten acre site on which to build residences, parks, gyms, stores, restaurants, and facilities.   In short, we’re colonizing Roosevelt Island.  How will the city and more importantly, the residents of the island, feel about this?  NYU has faced several protests when renovating historical buildings into dorms, and I imagine that Stanford’s plans to build 20-story residences in the middle of a tiny island will be met with some resistance.

After President Hennessy’s talk questions arose regarding what there is to gain from moving to New York City to which President Hennessy responded that distance education and collaboration is the future of higher education.  Companies open satellite offices in various cities to be in different cultural and financial realities, university will begin to do the same.  As for New York City, it is the cultural and financial capital of the United States.  We bring to it our entrepreneurial spirit and it gives back to us its vibrancy and history, two things which Palo Alto, somehow, lacks.

Will any of this happen?  Who knows, 27 universities have put in bids, one will be chosen, and then begins the process of finding funds, getting through zoning and building laws, enticing students to pursue degrees in New York, hiring additional faculty, and building the program.  For now, we’ll have to settle with our same old campus, the program in Washington, Monterey, Beijing, Florence, Madrid, Santiago, Oxford, Paris, Capetown, Moscow…

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