The vision for the program came from Howard Milstein '73 and Michael Milstein '11, both A&S graduates, who collaborated with Gretchen Ritter '83, the Harold Tanner Dean of Arts and Sciences, and Dan Huttenlocher, the Jack and Rilla Neafsey Dean of Cornell Tech. The program was launched in 2017 with a $20 million gift from the Milstein family. The announcement of the Milstein Program came on the heels of the opening of Cornell Tech’s permanent campus on Roosevelt Island. The program is the first to leverage the new graduate campus as a platform for multidisciplinary innovation for Cornell undergraduates, extending Cornell Tech’s mission to reach future leaders at an even earlier stage.
Howard P. Milstein
Graduated from the College of Arts & Sciences in 1973, summa cum laude, making him the first person to achieve the highest honors in Economics in Cornell's history. He went on to complete a joint JD/MBA in business and law at Harvard University. He was admitted to the New York State Bar, and is a member of the Federal Bar Council as well as the American, New York State, and New York City Bar Associations.
Today Mr. Milstein serves Cornell as a Presidential Councilor, a Trustee, a member of the Major Gifts Committee, and a member of the Arts & Sciences Advisory Council. He served on the university's Investment Committee for 15 years, and also chaired and co-chaired the Real Estate Subcommittee for 30 years. He was a member and vice chair of the Building and Properties Committee for eight years.
“The American private sector is the most powerful force for progress in the world, and today the tech economy is the most productive part of the private sector, It is of the utmost importance to imbue that activity and progress with the core culture and disciplines of the humanities and social sciences.”
As a visiting professor in 1986, Mr. Milstein taught a graduate course in real estate development in the School of Architecture, Art, and Planning. Also in 1986, the Milstein family was instrumental in the opening of Cornell's Rome program.
Mr. Milstein was a founding member of the Cornell Club in New York City, and along with Robert Abrams developed the degree-granting program in real estate. He and Mr. Abrams also founded the annual Cornell Real Estate Conference event, bringing back to campus hundreds of real estate executives from all over the country.
At Weill Cornell Medical College, Mr. Milstein has served as a member of the Board of Overseers for more than 20 years.
The extended Milstein family (which includes Mr. Milstein's wife, Abby Sniderman Milstein; his son, Michael Milstein '11; his parents, the late Paul Milstein and Irma Milstein; and his sister and brother-in law, Barbara '76 and David Zalaznick '76) has been very generous to Cornell University. Collectively, their giving places them amongst the university's top benefactors.
Mr. Milstein arranged the lead gift for Milstein Hall, the stunning new facility for the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning. He has also made further gifts to enable the project to go forward. In the College of Arts & Sciences, Mr. Milstein provides ongoing annual support for 20 Milstein Scholars and the Milstein Faculty Fellowships for Strategic Hires. At Weill Cornell, working with Dr. Carl Nathan, he established the Abby and Howard P. Milstein Core Facility in Chemical Biology, and the Abby and Howard P. Milstein Program in Chemical Biology and Translational Medicine, and more recently, the Milstein Program in Medicinal Chemistry. With help from the Milstein Foundation, Cornell's Department of Entomology is at the forefront of conducting research in eradication of Asian Longhorned Beetle.
Most recently, the Milstein family committed $20 million to launch the new Milstein Program in Technology and Humanity, a collaboration between the College of Arts & Sciences and Cornell Tech that will pioneer an innovative approach to liberal arts education for the digital age.
In 1989 Mr. Milstein was named as a "Builder of Cornell," and was honored as the 2008 Cornell Entrepreneur of the Year.
Michael is the only child of Howard ’73 and Abby Milstein. He graduated from the College of Arts and Sciences in 2011 and was a College Scholar. Michael is the CEO of Boylan Bottling Co., an artisanal beverage company, and Co-Founder and Chairman of Grand Central Tech, a unique community of startup businesses and strategic partners. He is also a partner at New York Private Bank and Trust and a partner at Milstein Properties, and serves on the boards of The Nicklaus Companies and Ostendo Technologies. Philanthropically, Michael sits on a number of boards including the Milstein Medical Asian American Partnership Foundation.
“I think the intersection of technology and humanity will play a pivotal role in our society going forward.”