Chuck Feeney - Irish American business man and philanthropist

Irish American billionaire Chuck Feeney has been named as the person who donated $350 million to building the new hi-tech graduate school on Roosevelt Island in New York.

Cornell University, Feeney’s old college, beat out Stanford University and other top schools to build the institute.

They will partner with the Techno-Israel Institute of Technology

The $2 billion project is an effort to build a Silicon Valley type research institute in the heart of New York.

Feeney is founder of Atlantic Philanthropies, which has given over $4 billion mainly to education and medical projects.

He has given hundreds of millions to Irish universities and charitable projects.

He was inaugurated into the Irish America Hall of Fame in March of this year by Irish America magazine.

He played a leading role in the Irish peace process as part of an Irish American delegation who got President Clinton involved in the process.

“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity,” Feeney said in a statement, “to create economic and educational opportunity on a transformational scale.”

Read more: Irish America Hall of Fame: Charles Feeney

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, “Today will be remembered as a defining moment...In a word, this project is going to be transformative.”

Bloomberg stated that the project would include a $150 million venture capital fund for start-up and a math and science education backing for 10,000 city children.

He stated that building the college would create 20,000 construction jobs, and ultimately create 30,000 more permanent jobs and as much as $1.4 billion in tax revenue. The city is giving the land and up to $100 million in infrastructure improvements.

“New York City is positioned to become the new technology capital of the world,” David J. Skorton, the Cornell president told The New York Times.

Chuck Feeney was born in 1931 and raised in a working class section of Elizabeth, NJ during the Great Depression. His father, the son of an immigrant from Co. Fermanagh, Ireland, was an insurance salesman and his mother was a nurse.