…including what is shaping to be an amazing partnership with Technion and some spectacular gamesmanship:
Dr. Skorton saved that information for just the right moment. After Thanksgiving, the city invited five contenders to make detailed presentations. Cornell and Technion went last, on Dec. 3.
“President Skorton ended it by saying ‘I want to tell you all that we have a $350 million gift,’ ” Mr. Fuchs recalled. “You could have heard a pin drop in that room.”
Mr. Steel said, “It’s pretty breathtaking when other schools are talking about the challenges of fund-raising, and one of your strongest competitors says on the first phase financing: done.”
In negotiations, the city tried to sweeten the bids. Stanford balked at some conditions, while Dr. Skorton sought more ammunition from Cornell’s trustees at a Dec. 8 meeting.
“I asked if they would be willing to take $100 million of the endowment for start-up companies,” he recalled.
“And they said, ‘How about $150 million?’ ”
No other school offered a venture fund, something that Seth W. Pinsky, president of the city’s Economic Development Corporation, called “particularly attractive to us.”
By the time Stanford shocked everyone involved by dropping out Dec. 16, city officials said, Cornell and Technion had all but won. Mr. Bloomberg made it official three days later.
“Of all the applications we received, Cornell and the Technion was far and away the boldest and most ambitious,” the mayor said. A big part of its appeal, he added, was “a tantalizing, groundbreaking partnership.”