Sean Cusack BSE’98

In my speech at Founder’s Day 2014 this year, which can be watched over here on youtube, I described my long term goals for the school, and setting ourselves some strong challenges to achieve, that I believe Peter Cooper would support. Get back to need-free, then back to tuition-free, on the way to completely free, and then beyond to a world of negative-tuition stipends for all students. That’s a future I support, that’s a future of the school I plan to be part of making happen.

However, those are long-reaching goals that are going to take a lot of time and effort and working together for years and decades, and I believe that we also need things to focus on in the short-term.

Therefore, fellow alumni, I present you with three yearly challenges that I hope will bring us closer together, and closer to being like Peter Cooper, thus helping to empower us all to tackle such lofty goals.

As I frequently quote, Peter Cooper said to one of the first graduating classes of Cooper Union:

“In the course of a century there will, of course be a great number of graduates of the Cooper Union and the day will surely come when they, these graduates, will rally round this institution, and if the plans I have formed can be executed in no other way they will see they are carried out.”

1. For Cooper

Once per year, do one thing for Cooper. This could be for the school itself, for the Alumni Association, for The Associates, it doesn’t matter. It could be giving money, or giving time, or giving resources, or going out of your way to hire a Cooper intern. But one thing per year as a reminder of where we all come from. Every little bit helps, including non-monetary involvement.

2. With Cooper

Once per year, do one thing with Cooper. Meaning, reach out to the Cooper community and make a connection. Phone an old classmate and have a beer after work. Contact one of your professors and catch up over coffee. Attend a Cooper-related event, including regional ones. Or run an event and reach out to us for help with advertising it. You can contact the Events Committee at But stay connected with the community. Only together can we make a difference, and now is the time to strengthen our individual connections.

3. As Cooper

Finally, also once per year, do one thing as Cooper. It’s time to remind ourselves of the highest level of philanthropic worth that Peter Cooper could provide for the world, an army of alumni rampaging across the globe, doing works of social good. So in his name and in his spirit, perform one selfless act per year and credit it to Peter Cooper, or his spirit, or the legacy of Cooper Union. Because we are that legacy, and we should tell it to the mountain publicly.

Send us your challenges!

Please mail the communication committee members at this specialized email for this challenge, to tell us how you’ve met the challenges this year. Send stories and pictures to!