This article originally appeared in the October 2012 CUAA Newsletter.

Written by MaryAnn Nichols, A ’68
CUAA, Past President

marilyn_greenburg cover_page_1Dozens celebrated the life of Marilyn Hoffner Greenberg, A ’48, in the Great Hall on Monday, October 15, 2012. She was remembered by close friends and classmates, family members, and the Presidents of both the school and the Alumni Association. A slideshow and small exhibit in the Great Hall Galley showcased some of Marilyn’s greatest artistic contributions to the school. Below is a special remembrance by MaryAnn Nichols, A ’68:

Marilyn was one of a kind – talented, creative and forward thinking with an abundant love for her family and her dear Alma mater, Cooper Union. The late John Hejduk, former Dean of The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture, lovingly called her the “Mother of Cooper Union.” Her vast devotion to the school was legendary. I have known Al and Marilyn since the 1960s, when Al taught graphic design to my class at Cooper and Marilyn would occasionally fill in for him when he was away on assignment. We were so lucky to get hands-on lessons from two successful and gifted designers.

Marilyn was a role model for young women like me, at that time, because she epitomized a woman who could do it all: an independent successful graphic designer, married, raising two children at a time when a woman’s career path was quite limited. As Director of Alumni Relations and Development and later as Executive Director for Institutional Giving, Marilyn was like no other.

She really knew how to engage people. Once when I was sitting with a group of Cooper Union Alumni Council members, someone asked how many of us were encouraged to join by Marilyn. Pretty much all of us said we were. She had the knack for picking great people to step up as leaders. So many people have confided to me over the years that they would not have been involved without her suggesting they do so.

She was simply a natural at fostering relationships. In her role, Marilyn spent many years cultivating both relationships with prospective donors and close friendships with alumni, which lead to generous contributions to Cooper Union. As someone who dedicated so much to Cooper, she was delighted, of course, that her classmates remained loyal supporters as well.
She just knew Cooper and its alumni. Marilyn never stopped creatively coming up with ways to engage fellow alumni. The number of events, invitations, brochures, books, calendars and all sorts of Cooper Union memorabilia she made or helped design (as was projected behind me) is simply too many to count. She just knew what alumni would enjoy.

She never stopped giving back. Over the years she remained not only interested but involved. She chaired the Nominating Committee year after year, continually engaging young alumni. And she remained active after her term as President of the Alumni Association, attending our Executive Committee meetings whenever she was able. Her institutional memory was peerless, and always extremely valuable to us. She was always honest. When I’d ask her advice or opinions she was forth- coming and always straightforward. I will miss her greatly and so will the many, many friends, colleagues and alumni that she worked with over the years.