Eisgruber describes Princeton synergies in letter to Amazon leaders
Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber has sent a letter to two Princeton alumni who hold leadership positions at Amazon.com to describe “some of the synergies that might benefit Amazon if you were to join us in the state that we are proud to call home.” Amazon recently issued a Request for Proposal for a second corporate headquarters in North America, and several areas in New Jersey have expressed interest in submitting proposals. Amazon’s current headquarters is in Seattle, Washington.
The letter was sent to Amazon’s founder and chief executive office, Jeffrey P. Bezos, and its CEO of Worldwide Consumer, Jeffrey A. Wilke. The text of the letter follows:
October 12, 2017
Mr. Jeffrey P. Bezos
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
440 Terry Avenue North
Seattle, Washington 98109
Mr. Jeffrey A. Wilke
CEO, Worldwide Consumer
345 Boren Avenue North
Seattle, Washington 98109
Dear Jeff and Jeff,
Not surprisingly, Amazon's RFP for its second corporate headquarters has generated much discussion in New Jersey, as I know it has throughout the country. Princeton University is growing its connections with the innovation ecosystem in New Jersey, and I wanted to share with you some of the synergies that might benefit Amazon if you were to join us in the state that we are proud to call home.
The RFP makes it clear that Amazon will be looking to engage with excellent institutions of higher education, partly because of your interest in working with exceptional faculty and students, and partly because your employees can benefit from the intellectual and cultural resources they offer. Princeton University provides multiple opportunities for intellectual enrichment and engagement, exceptional cultural offerings in theater, music, the other creative and performing arts, and a first-rate Art Museum; as you may know, we just opened a new arts complex that will allow us to increase the range and depth of artistic life on campus.
Princeton University is increasingly engaging with corporate and other external partners throughout the state, and we would welcome an exploration with Amazon of areas ranging from potential research collaborations and innovation initiatives, to possible internship or recruitment programs. The strategic framework that our trustees adopted two years ago calls for increasing engagement with the growing innovation ecosystem of New Jersey, and expanded investments in engineering, including such fields as computer science, statistics, and machine learning. These are fields that are revolutionizing the organization of human society and transforming scholarly disciplines throughout the world, and I know they are fields that are important to you and your business. They are attracting growing numbers of students and faculty who not only want to explore them, but to apply them in ways that make the world a better place.
One of Princeton's great strengths is that it attracts some of the best students from around the country and around the world in all the fields it offers, including the arts, humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering, but the greatest recent growth in student interest has been in what your RFP describes as the "most relevant" majors for your business. The most heavily subscribed undergraduate major at Princeton last year was computer science, and in recent years, 70 percent of all Princeton undergraduates have taken at least one computer science course. Electrical engineering and our program in operations research and financial engineering are also among our ten largest majors.
As you make what I know will be a critically important decision for Amazon, I wanted to assure you that my colleagues and I are prepared to help in any way we can as you consider the many benefits that a location in New Jersey would provide.
Christopher L. Eisgruber