Cornell alum gives $12 million donation to school

Cornell University is receving a $12 million donation to boost cutting-edge sustainability research.

The gift from David and Patricia Atkinson will be used to fully endow the directorship of the David R. Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future. The money also will help partially fund the center's three faculty director positions. Other donors who endow any of those three positions with gifts of $2 million will be matched with an additional $1 million from the Atkinsons.

The Atkinson center collaborates with such groups as The Nature Conservancy and CARE. It's focused on addressing urgent and complex world challenges, such as improving sustainable food systems in the developing world.

David Atkinson is a 1960 Cornell graduate and operates an investment management company in New Jersey.