Celebrating the Conclusion of the 2013-2014 Academic Year

To:  All Members of the Cooper Union Community
From: Jamshed Bharucha

All of us at The Cooper Union congratulate the Class of 2014. As we look back on this past academic year, we can feel grateful and optimistic, while also recognizing the challenges The Cooper Union has faced over the past few years. With the eventful end of the academic year and the excitement of graduation, now is a good time both to reflect on recent accomplishments and to look forward with hope and anticipation.

The Cooper Union remains a beacon of educational excellence. Our faculty continue to fulfill Peter Cooper’s vision of enriching intellects, sparking creativity, and providing opportunity. He had another objective as well: to instill in Cooper graduates a sense of social justice that would translate into action. Our commencement speaker, Pritzker Prize winning architect Shigeru Ban AR’84, amply demonstrates that value.


Every year, The Cooper Union transforms itself to showcase the extraordinary work of its students. More than 35 exhibition spaces throughout the Foundation Building and 41 Cooper Square are dedicated to intensive displays of painting, sculpture, photography, video, film, graphic design, architectural models and design, and engineering projects. All the work is created by our undergraduate and masters students. I hope you can visit during gallery hours through mid-June.


The Class of 2014 is made up of some of the most talented and promising individuals ever to graduate from Cooper Union. While some of them will begin work immediately as artists, architects and engineers, others have accepted jobs in finance and information technology. New and recent graduates will enroll in graduate study at Yale, Berkeley, Penn, Stanford and Georgia Tech. Others have earned graduate fellowships, such as the Congress-Bundestag Fellowship for Young Professionals, a Chrysler Foundation Scholarship for study at MIT and the National Institutes of Health Medical Scientist Training Program Grant for study at Mount Sinai. An artist will participate in the independent study program at the Whitney Museum, while two recent alumni will travel to Italy and India as Fulbright Scholars.

The range and versatility of our new Cooper alumni truly would make Peter Cooper proud.


The incoming Class of 2018 continues this tradition of excellence. With final acceptances in-hand, we are proud to welcome another accomplished group of young men and women. This year, that includes:

  • 26 first-year students in the School of Architecture
  • 65 new artists for the School of Art
  • 150 new students to the School of Engineering
  • 22.4 percent eligible for Pell grants

We are enrolling students with the aptitude and accomplishment Cooper always has sought, thanks to the faculty and admissions staff who successfully conveyed our unique approach, comprised of highly gifted students and rigorous curriculum, within a collaborative and intensive learning environment. The members of this incoming class represent the brightest, most talented high school seniors anywhere. We are delighted that they have chosen to study with us.

The class continues The Cooper Union’s tradition of strong economic diversity, including almost 22.4 percent eligible for Pell grants, with family incomes of $50,000 or less.

This percentage compares favorably with total undergraduate Pell populations of 17.6 percent in the 2012-13 academic year, 20.5 percent in 2011-12 and 18.6 percent in 2010-11. Pell students continue to receive full tuition scholarships at Cooper, and we have improved the need-based aid that covers housing, supplies and other costs of attendance. Together, we can build Cooper’s ability to reach and enroll students from all backgrounds and circumstances, honoring both the intentions of the founder and the long-held values of our community.


In April, The Cooper Union hosted New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s address on the occasion of his first 100 days in office. Mayor de Blasio took up the theme of the history of the hall in his opening and noted The Cooper Union as an "extraordinary New York treasure," thanking the faculty, workers and students, "who make this place one of the great institutions of this city."

In May, the 13th Annual Benjamin Menschel Distinguished Lecture featured the acclaimed scholar and critic Henry Louis Gates, Jr., who addressed "Genealogy, Genetics and African American History." Gates is founding director of The Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard, as well as a PBS documentarist and author. The talk drew many New Yorkers who had never before visited but who nonetheless know The Cooper Union’s reputation as a hub for public discourse. The event also inaugurated an extraordinary new sound system installed through the generosity of Richard Menschel. Designed in collaboration with the sound engineers who created the system at Carnegie Hall, our new system is one of the finest in the city. It will help us to continue to draw exceptional talent to the Great Hall.


The Cooper Union will once again offer a variety of summer programs for students of all ages:

For over 25 years The Albert Nerken School of Engineering has run a summer program to prepare high school students to pursue undergraduate careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture is offering three different four-week intensive summer workshops for college credit at introductory and advanced levels. These workshops will introduce students to foundational concepts and practices within the study of architecture; explore the role of advanced digital technologies as a theoretical and formal determinate in contemporary architecture; and provide in-depth research in urban sustainability and design competencies. 

This summer, The Cooper Union is also offering a unique opportunity to get a head start on one of the most important aspects of one’s college career: writing at the college level. The Cooper Union Summer Writing Program is a three-week course that prepares students for college-level writing by giving them the critical writing and thinking tools they need. It is designed for students attending college in the fall or entering their senior year of high school.


Thanks to the tireless efforts of our development professionals and our volunteers and to the generosity of our community, The Cooper Union has been able to exceed all expectations for 2014 fundraising. Equally important, the reasons are broad-based and reflect the strength of the institution:

  • We have already surpassed our cash goal of $10.5 million, and are on track to exceed $12 million
  • Annual giving is on track to exceed our $2.7million target, and is projected to reach $3.1 million
  • We have received significant bequests from alumni exceeding $5 million.

As always, we continue to count on the support of alumni, parents and friends as we close out a very successful 2014.

Though much has changed in the last year and much work remains, Cooper’s future is bright. Congratulations to the graduating Class of 2014 and a peaceful summer to all.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.