2013 Welcome Back Message from President Bharucha

September 8, 2013
To: The Cooper Union Community
From: President Jamshed Bharucha
Subject: Welcome back

I want to welcome faculty, students and staff back for a new academic year. To our new students, we celebrate your joining our community of excellence and innovation. Congratulations on your admission to The Cooper Union.

We experienced another highly selective admissions cycle where only eight percent of all applicants were admitted. This talented group of students comes from all over the United States and around the world, including Australia, Canada, China, The Czech Republic, Haiti, Hong Kong, India, Israel, The Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Taiwan and The United Kingdom.

Summer 2013

I hope you have all enjoyed a restful summer. A highlight of the summer was the arrival of Dr. Teresa Dahlberg as the new Dean of the Albert Nerken School of Engineering. The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture search committee, chaired by Diana Agrest, began its search for a new dean following Anthony Vidler's twelve years of service.

Our vibrant summer programs continued with their vital work. These included the 26th Annual Summer Research Internship Program that provided local area high school students with free classes in engineering. The Pre-College Outreach Program, which encourages high school students to advance their art, ended the summer session with a student exhibition in the Foundation Building.

Exciting new programs included a first-ever "Invention Factory," funded by an endowed gift from Ed Durbin (EE'48). The Invention Factory enabled twenty students to compete for a $5,000 prize for the best, working invention that could be patented - with potential proceeds going to The Cooper Union. The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture also launched two new summer programs: "Introduction to Architecture," for college level students considering applying to architecture school, and "Strange Craft: Master Class in Advanced Digital Architecture," for advanced students and professionals in practice. Finally, the Center for Writing provided The Cooper Union's first-ever online-only course. The Summer Writing program was a paid three-week online course for anyone interested in preparing for writing at the college level.

For my wife, Jessie, and me, the summer concluded at Cape Cod, where we joined Dean Baker and 120 scholar-athletes in a week of sports, team-building, leadership-building, and community-building. We were grateful for the chance to develop relationships with students outside the hectic campus.

The Year Ahead

This year the School of Art will continue its commitment to providing Cooper students with access to first-rate international faculty, with visiting instructor/artists who originally hail from Paris, Bogata, Rio de Janeiro and Warsaw. The Interdisciplinary Seminar will feature major artist speakers like Judith Barry, Leslie Hewitt (A’00) and the Nature Theater of Oklahoma. Two exhibitions have also been planned for fall: one focused on Greenwood Cemetery and another that will provide an overview of graphic design work from over seventy New York City design firms.

The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture welcomes new adjunct faculty: Tulay Atak, Pep Aviles, Teddy Kofman, Sofia Krimizi, Matthew Roman, Wes Rosen, and Will Shapiro. Starting in October, Professor Emerita Sue Ferguson Gussow will teach a Master Class in drawing, open to the public. It will start in October as a special fundraising initiative requiring a donation of at least $1,500, with proceeds going to The Cooper Union and the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture. Professor Diana Agrest's new film, "The Making of an Avant Garde: the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies 1967-1984", will be screened at Cooper Union this Fall. The exhibition of Master’s thesis projects opens in the Houghton Gallery on September 12th at 6:30 p.m.

This year, the Albert Nerken School of Engineering revamped "EID 101: Engineering Design and Problem Solving," a required freshman engineering course that integrates social and environmental solutions into core pedagogy. In the new format projects will include, maximizing energy efficiency of vehicles, designing urban gardens for New York City rooftops to produce food for the poor, and tackling child obesity by building equipment that motivates children to exercise.

The Development Office was very productive over the summer, garnering several major donations. These included a bequest of more than $2 million from the Estate of Jane Deed, wife of Donald Deed, ChE’37, and a pledge of $1 million for the Saturday Program from Trustee Jeffery Gural. Ed Durbin, EE’48, whose gift established the first Invention Factory for the School of Engineering in 2013, has contributed $100,000 to support the program again in 2014. A six-week companion program will be launched next summer, tentatively titled the Entrepreneurship Factory, with support from Scott Sheridan, son of Robert Sheridan (ME’49).

As many of you may have noticed, the CitiBikes rack has been removed from in front of the Foundation Building. This was done in advance of the Astor Place redesign, an exciting renovation of the Peter Cooper Square area. The park will be expanded, with additional entrances, and a pedestrian plaza will be added in place of the southbound lane of 4th Avenue. Work is scheduled to begin in the coming weeks. The proposed map will be posted to cooper.edu as soon as it becomes available.

Over the next three months, Trustees Michael Borkowsky and Jeffrey Gural will Co-Chair a Working Group comprised of trustees, administrators, full-time and part-time faculty, staff, alumni and students. The Working Group’s charge is to explore ways in which Cooper Union may revert to providing full-tuition scholarships for all enrolled students while establishing a sustainable financial model and continuing to invest in academic excellence. The definition of a sustainable financial model will be provided by the Finance Committee of the Board of Trustees. The Working Group will submit its report to the administration and Board of Trustees by December 1st for consideration at the December Board of Trustees Meeting.

I enjoyed meeting new students and their families at the Stuyvesant Fish House on move-in day. If we have not yet met, please take the time to introduce yourself. I look forward to meeting you.

  • 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.