Founder’s Day 2014 Award Ceremony

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The Founder’s Day 2014 celebration was held on April 13, 2014. Founder’s Day is the annual event celebrating Peter Cooper and recognizing our alumni accomplishments. The celebration began in The Great Hall with an award ceremony opened by Event Chair Yinna Wang A’07 to recognize the 223rd birthday of Peter Cooper. Cooper Union President Jamshed Bharucha and Board of Trustees Chairman Richard Lincer also welcomed everyone. The award ceremony was presided over by the CUAA President John Leeper AR’85 and awards were presented to eleven alumni and one trustee who have distinguished themselves in their professions, in service to the school, and in service to the general public. The Peter Cooper Service Award was awarded for the first time and the presentation of that award was made by Milton Glaser A’51.

On behalf of the CUAA, John Leeper presented the 2014 Alumnus of the Year award to Sean Cusack BSE’98, and recognized three alumni with a Young Alumnus of the Year Award: Alexis Lenza CE’05, Henry Chapman A’10, and Victoria Sobel A’13. Cooper Union students selected by each of the schools’ Deans presented the Cooper Union Hall of Fame awards for professional achievement. Maxine Chikumbo A’14 and Rachel Mendelsohn A’14 presented the Augustus Saint Gaudens Awards for Art to Julien LaVerdiere A’93 and Augusta Savage A’25 (posthumous). Ariana Revilla AR’14 presented the John Q. Hejduk Award for Architecture to Leslie Gill AR’82. Sharang Phadke EE’14 presented the Gano Dunn Award for Engineering to Jay Moskowitz PHY’70. The inaugural Peter Cooper Service Award for Public Service was presented by Milton Glaser A’51 to Christopher Moss, who accepted on behalf of his mother, Patricia Buckley Moss A’55. John Leeper presented awards for Special Recognition for Extraordinary Service to The Cooper Union and its alumni to Barry Drogin EE’83/MEE’86, Mike Borkowsky ME’61, and Cooper Union Trustee Jeffery Gural.

Founder’s Day Chair Yinna Wang A’07 Introductory remarks and an invitation to the Block Party afterwards Watch Video
CUAA President John Leeper AR’85 Introduction to the Alumni Awards
“We’re hopeful that this will be the first of a tradition that we’d like to start today.”
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Cooper Union President Jamshed Bharucha Introductory comments on Peter Cooper and Founder’s Day Watch Video
Cooper Union Chair of the Board Richard Lincer Introductory comments on Founder’s Day
“…what the number of awards today does bespeak is the activity and the prominence and the achievements of the alums of this great school with which I am so proud to be associated and to work to continue with its greatness.”
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John Leeper AR’85 Presenting Alumnus of the Year Watch Video
Sean Cusack BSE’98 Alumnus of the Year
“Every year, do one thing FOR Cooper …do one thing WITH Cooper …and finally, once per year, I would love to see every single person do one thing AS Cooper. Do one pure, selfless act per year, and sign it a gift of Peter Cooper.””Though I’m convinced that in 5 or 10 years, we will find our way back to tuition-free, I think we should keep going …In 5 or 10 years after that, I would like to aim for the school to be completely free …We should keep on going, 5 or 10 years beyond that, we should pay every student a stipend… If you think we were a shining castle on a hill with just ‘free’, imagine negative tuition!”
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John Leeper AR’85 Presenting Young Alumna of the Year Watch Video
Alexis Lenza CE’05 Young Alumna of the Year Watch Video Awardee Bio
John Leeper AR’85 Presenting Young Alumnus of the Year Watch Video
Henry Chapman A’10 Young Alumnus of the Year
“I just want to say a very special thank you to the people I worked with as Friends of Cooper Union. Our dream was, and is, to better Cooper Union, to preserve its scholarship and to articulate what is vital in its possibility as an institution.””We know now that those efforts fell on deaf ears, but we also know that smallness of vision does not define us. We rang a bell, and it’s still ringing.”
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John Leeper AR’85 Presenting Young Alumna of the Year Watch Video
Victoria Sobel A’13 Young Alumna of the Year
“I remember sitting in this space as a prospective student with my parents, as an accepted student by myself and with my peers …and also last year for the announcement of tuition, so this space is deeply meaningful to me and also very bittersweet.””I just want to thank this community for the enormous perseverance its shown, and I look forward to working with all of you.”
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John Leeper AR’85 Introducing the Professional Awards Watch Video
Maxine Chikumbo A’14 Presenting Augustus Saint Gaudens Award Watch Video
Julian Laverdiere A’93 Augustus Saint Gaudens Awardee
“I think radicality was always something that was part of the Art School’s education, and its intention was to teach you to think differently. And this last few years, it’s been interesting watching how the art school students have exercised their skill to try to help either fend off change or induce an outcome they would hope for.””Most importantly, Cooper taught me to have a social conscience, to consider the political implications of what it is I do and say through art and work. I still weigh my choices on the moral scales Cooper gave me.”

“I sincerely hope Cooper can remain a true meritocracy and maintain its standards of excellence as it makes the regrettable transition from a charitable institution of higher education into an institution of profit. I profoundly hope Cooper can turn back the clock and return to its original mission, and I’ll try to help however I can in that.”

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Rachel Mendelson A’14 Presenting Augustus Saint Gaudens Award
“It is always encouraging to find a strong female who has lived and worked against challenges and overcome prejudice to create a body of work that lives on indefinitely. Not only was Augusta Savage a talented artist, but also an activist and arts educator.”  Augusta Savage’s award will be displayed in the Augustus Savage Arts Center in Green Cove Springs Florida.”
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Marina Gutierrez A’81 for Augusta Savage A’25 Accepting Augustus Saint Gaudens for Augusta Savage A’25
Reading from a letter accepting the award from Roy M. Timberlake, Jr., Mayor of Green Cove Springs, Florida”Mrs. Savage’s summation of her legacy and work with children is exemplified by the quote, ‘If I can inspire one of these youngsters to develop the talent I know they possess, then my monument will be in their work.'”
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John Leeper AR’85 Introducing Ariana Revilla AR’85 Watch Video
Ariana Revilla AR’14 Presenting John Q Hejduk Award Watch Video
Leslie Gill AR’82 John Q Hejduk Awardee
“The true gift that John Hejduk gave us was the understanding that education itself was a reciprocity. That effectively, you learn as much as you’re willing to give ..John tied his legacy to Peter Cooper’s legacy in the sense that he taught us that all of us can make a difference, whether we are teaching our own children, whether we are teaching the people who are in our studios and offices, or whether we are teaching our students in other institutions. And so I join all of us here in saying that legacy is Peter Cooper’s true gift all of us, and that we all participate in that over and over again in our daily lives.”
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John Leeper AR’85 Introducing Sharang Phadke EE’14 Watch Video
Sharang Phadke EE’14 Presenting Gano Dunn Award Watch Video
Jay Moskowitz PHY’70 Gano Dunn Awardee, Jay Moskowitz PHYS 70, jokingly bemoaned Coopers failure to “cure him” of his need to learn, explore, and invent. Watch Video Awardee Bio
John Leeper AR’85 Introducing the new Peter Cooper Public Service Award, and Milton Glaser A’51 Watch Video
Milton Glaser A’51 Presenting Peter Cooper Public Service AwardTo inaugurate the award, Peter Cooper Award for Public Service, Milton Glaser A’51 spoke about Patricia Buckley Moss A’55 who has helped many through her philanthropy. Watch Video
Christopher Moss for Patricia Buckley Moss A’55 Accepting Peter Cooper Public Service Award for Patricia Buckley Moss A’55
Her son Christopher Moss accepted the award on behalf of his mother who was out of the country. He said that his mother’s childhood dream was to attend Cooper Union, and he said “The fulfillment of that dream provided her with the foundation to achieve more than she could have ever dreamed at the time. That foundation of education and compassion and service helped to shape who she would become and who she still is today.””Success in life can be measured in many ways, but my mother always believed that ultimate success is measured in what you give back to the world, not what you take from it.”

Thanking the Association on his mother’s behalf, Moss affirmed: “Peter Cooper was the very embodiment of genuine dedication and commitment to public service, and Pat could not be more humbled or more honored to be the inaugural recipient of the Peter Cooper Public Service Award.”

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John Leeper AR’85 Introducing Special Recognition Awards Watch Video
Barry Drogin EE’83/MEE’86 Special Recognition Awardee
“Of all these awards and honors the full tuition scholarships in addition to the education I got from Cooper are what I am most proud of to put on my resume. I find it interesting that of all my awards and plaques, the one I am most proud of is the one that all alumni also receive. If you take away the merit scholarship, then the diploma is just another diploma from another college.”
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John Leeper AR’85 Presenting Michael Borkowsky ME’61 Watch Video
Michael Borkowsky ME’61 Special Recognition Awardee
“I want you to promise me that this community will continue to fight for the unique heritage and mission that has kept Cooper Union in the highest echelon of American colleges, and not with empty promises but with a real plan and a real timetable that will restore our faith that Cooper Union will be forever great, forever free.”
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John Leeper AR’85 for Jeff Gural Presenting and accepting Special Recognition Award for Jeff Gural
“Jeff Gural is a man who has been generous with his time and his family money, and we’re deeply appreciative of that, and also for his pushing us to remember our own heritage, and to find a way to return to it or honor it, collectively.”
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John Leeper AR’85 Closing Watch Video