Exploring the Future: The Possible Merger of New York University and Polytechnic University

TO:   Polytechnic Community

FROM: Board Chairman Craig Matthews, President Jerry Hultin, and Provost Erich Kunhardt

RE: Exploring the Future: The Possible Merger of New York University and Polytechnic University

We have important news about Polytechnic’s future.  Last Friday, the Executive Committee of the Polytechnic Board of Trustees voted to enter into new discussions with New York University that we believe will lead to the successful merger of our two institutions. While there is much to discuss before a formal agreement is reached, and in consideration of all the factors discussed below, we are confident that an agreement will be reached that is highly beneficial to both Polytechnic and NYU.  There are important reasons for reopening a door that was closed less than three years ago.

First, as two of New York City’s oldest private, independent universities - NYU was founded in 1831 and Polytechnic was founded in 1853 -- we share key values including our commitment to the vitality and sustainability of New York City; our promise to provide opportunity to bright, diverse students who seek to be creative and fruitful citizens in our nation’s and the global economy; and our belief that science and technology are essential sources of advancement and growth for the 21st century.

Second, we each have a need for the other.  Polytechnic is fundamentally an engineering and applied science university with a mission.  In the past two years, we at Polytechnic have committed to delivering technological education and research that is infused with invention, innovation and entrepreneurship.  We assembled a leadership team and developed a strategic mission and plan utilizing these elements to provide 21st century education, research, and technology commercialization.  We have also seen students, young entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and governmental and civic leaders recognize Poly’s essential role in enhancing New York City’s appeal and strengthening the global competitiveness of the city and the state. 

New York University is a major, nationally-recognized and highly-ranked research university, rich in the sciences and the arts; its faculty is creative and esteemed. Their leadership appreciates that New York University can more vigorously meet the challenges of our times if its fields of study include engineering and applied sciences.  However, The College of Engineering and Science at New York University was disbanded over thirty years ago - in 1973 - and its engineering faculty, students and alumni merged with Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn. The essential role of technology and engineering is largely missing from NYU’s offerings, and it is this missing vital element which Polytechnic can provide.

Third, as universities competing in the 21st century global economy, we share the ambition to provide education and research that advances the quality of life for people in New York City and around the world.  To fulfill these ambitions, both Poly and NYU seek a student body that understands and aspires to meet the world’s needs, both want to provide an environment in which faculty thrive, and both desire to create new products and services based on scientific and technological innovation and entrepreneurship.  As two universities joined, we truly believe we can better fulfill these ambitions and meet the challenges before us. 

To further appreciate the benefits that NYU sees in joining with Polytechnic and the depth of their commitment, please read the statement that President John Sexton and Provost David McLaughlin posted on their website.

Whether you are already a member of the Polytechnic community -- or a young student or parents of a student considering an education at Poly - you may have questions and concerns about how this possible merger with NYU will affect Poly and your role at Poly. Let us know what those concerns are and we will address them. Many of you met with us in last Friday’s town hall meeting in which we conveyed our enthusiasm for moving forward with a merger and spelled out the key principles upon which our future discussions will be founded. 

We have agreed with the leadership of NYU to discuss in detail how we will operate together.  We will conduct these merger discussions as part of a process that is open to the Polytechnic community and gives ample opportunity for you to convey your insights and concerns. 

We are confident that in joining our two great universities, Polytechnic can best fulfill its mission and goals and, by doing so, will sustain and enhance the key values and traditions that have defined Polytechnic’s proud history.  We are excited to join with NYU’s President John Sexton and Provost David McLaughlin in charting the course of this new era for Polytechnic and New York University.