Amity acquires 170 acre campus in New York
New Delhi: Amity has announced the acquisition of a 170 acre waterfront campus from St. John’s University located in Oakdale, Long Island, New York.
The property consists of 11 buildings with sweeping views of the Great South Bay. At the center of the campus is the Georgian-style Bourne Mansion, built in 1897 which was the waterfront estate of Frederick Bourne, president of Singer Sewing Machine Co. and one of the wealthiest people in the world at that time. The property was then converted to the LaSalle Military Academy, before it was taken over by St John’s University in 1999.
There were a large number of bidders for the property located in a premium location in the US, close driving distance from JFK airport and connected by highway and train connectivity to Manhattan. As per St John’s representatives, Amity was selected as the buyer because of its strong education background, ability to close quickly, integrity of the group, and the vision to continue the facility as a global teaching and research facility. Amity closed the deal and took possession of the campus on September 27th, 2016. St John’s University has been permitted to use one of the academic blocks until June 2017 so that they transition their programs seamlessly.
This acquisition is the latest expansion by the Amity group, which has more than 125,000 students studying across India as well as international campuses in London, Singapore, Dubai, Mauritius and a number of other countries.
According to Dr. Aseem Chauhan- Chancellor, Amity, “The Amity campus in New York will act as a bridge allowing people and institutions to connect and communicate between the US, India and other parts of the world with global campuses of Amity. This includes the large Indian diaspora in the US, which is keen to further its bonds with India. The campus will be a platform for better research collaboration, faculty and student exchange programs as well as innovation and entrepreneurship promotion between institutions in the US and India, at a time when bilateral talks between the countries are intensifying.”
This may be one of the largest entries of any international education provider into the US which follows decades of collaboration Amity has had with a large number of university partners in the US including student exchange programs and joint research initiatives, being in the US will allow for such collaborations to be further enhanced. It is also important to note that Amity University is one of the only institutions in Asia to have regional accreditation from WASC, the most prestigious accreditation available in the US, indicating that Amity understands and is aligned with quality standards expected by US regulators.
Separately, Amity has been in preliminary discussions for the acquisition of the Boston campus of EDMC, one of the largest education companies in the US, which has been owned at different times by private equity players like Goldman Sachs, Providence Equity and KKR. Amity’s discussion with EDMC has encountered resistance from Maura Healey, the Attorney General of Massachusetts. In the past when 39 US Attorneys General of the US entered into consent agreements with EDMC, Massachusetts was one of the few states to oppose the agreement, indicating their displeasure with EDMC. It is not surprising then that the AG is trying to block this transaction which would avoid the closure of the Boston campus. With the much larger and prominent New York acquisition completed, it is unclear whether Amity would need to continue with the discussion of acquiring any of the EDMC campuses.