Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering

Creating a New School at Cornell University

  • Medicine & Health
  • 2015

Cornell University is one of the strongest engineering schools in the country, but until 2015 did not offer an undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering. This despite the growing importance of that field, the fact that 60 percent of engineering students express interest in biological applications of engineering, and the existence of other Cornell entities that need expertise at the intersection of biology and engineering—the renowned vet school, the medical school, and Cornell Tech in New York City.

The Meinig family, who had previously given $25 million to Cornell to support research in the life sciences, filled that gap in 2015 when they doubled down on their previous bet with a $50 million gift. This donation spun Cornell’s existing biomedical engineering department into an independent school of biomedical engineering. It allowed the launch of the undergraduate major in the fall of 2015. And it put into motion a wide array of new research and teaching in four areas: tissue engineering, biomechanics, biomaterials and drugs, and instruments and imaging.