Michael Wenye Li/Sun File Photo

A $10 million donation from Steve Conine ’95 and Alexi Conine ’96, and Niraj Shah ’95 and Jill Shah will fund a new building next to Gates Hall.

October 15, 2021

$10 Million Alumni Donation Funds New Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science Building

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A new building for computer science will materialize next to Gates Hall –– funded by a $10 million donation from Steve Conine ’95 and Alexi Conine ’96, and Niraj Shah ’95 and Jill Shah. 

This gift adds to the December nine-figure donation from Ann S. Bowers ’59, announcing the Cornell Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science, which includes computer science, information science and statistics and data science.

Shah and Conine first met at a Cornell summer program and decades later co-founded the online retailing platform Wayfair. The company was originally named CSN Stores and is now a publicly traded company with a revenue of $14.1 billion in 2020. 

They were both named 2018 Cornell Entrepreneurs of the Year. But well before then, Shah and Conine were both engineering students at Cornell, passionate about technology. 

The gift comes as Cornell looks to support growth within the College of Computing and Information Science. Throughout the past few years, enrollment in these departments has climbed, with an estimated  2,000 majors this year in the college’s disciplines. Enrollment in computing and information science has grown sixfold in the past decade, according to a University press release

Students in the computer science major expressed excitement about the new building and broader support for the department. 

“I was excited to hear about this new building being endowed because it only reinforces my belief that the computer science department here is constantly evolving,” said Katherine Heatzig ’24, an intended computer science major in the College of Arts and Sciences. 

The building will be located next to Bill and Melinda Gates Hall at the corner of Hoy and Campus roads, the current cornerstone building of the college that opened in 2014. According to the press release, the new building will allow the college to keep up with rising enrollment rates and hire more faculty to the respective departments. 

Students are also excited by the possibility of the new building offering more study spaces.  As Cornell pours more resources into computing and information science, Jonathan Grossman ’24 said he was excited to hear about the building, saying he and his friends enjoy studying for tests and working on projects together across campus. 

“Computer science is the future and it is amazing to see Cornell acknowledging that and allocating resources to its continued progress,” said Udai Khattar ’23.