To the Cooper Community:

Please find below the latest draft of The Cooper Union’s statements of mission. Thanks to the sixtyone detailed responses to the draft, released in March, from alumni, faculty, staff, and students, both the content and structure of the texts have changed; every word has been subject to debate. The subcommittee welcomes further comments through the month of May. The draft will be submitted, after further review by the office of the President, to the Trustees for their consideration in June.

Collective thanks,

The sub-committee:

Monica Abdallah,
Peter Buckley,
Mauricio Higuera
Sangu Iyer
Sam Keene
Stan Mintchev
Elizabeth Rivera
Monica Shapiro

Please send comments to

The Draft Mission Statements of The Cooper Union as of May 3, 2017

Our Legacy:
Opened in 1859 by Peter Cooper, philanthropist, inventor, industrialist, and champion of democracy, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art was among the first institutions anywhere to admit students and the public without regard to race, religion, gender, status, or national origin. Lacking a formal education himself, the founder committed his fortune so others could learn. Peter Cooper extended the Enlightenment to all social classes through a free, practical education “to open the volume of nature by the light of truth,” unencumbered by debt or dependency.

Our Civic Commitment:
Located in the East Village, The Cooper Union engages New York City as a site for learning and for service. Through lectures, exhibitions, partnerships, outreach programming and professional development opportunities, The Cooper Union creates a platform for informed civic discourse, educational equality, and cultural enrichment. The Great Hall, New York’s historic auditorium for free speech and social justice, continues to be a forum for addressing important issues facing the city,the nation, and the world.

Our Mission:
The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art provides a rigorous professional education in the Schools of Architecture, Art, and Engineering, complemented by a broad curriculum from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. With a commitment to diversity and collaboration, The Cooper Union educates students in the ethical, cultural, and environmental contexts and consequences of their technical and creative disciplines. The institution continues to admit students on the basis of merit and potential, and awards scholarships to all enrolled undergraduates, striving to fulfill Peter Cooper’s vision to provide a free education. Peter Cooper trusted “that the students of this institution will do something to bear back the mighty torrent of evils now pressing on the world.” The college seeks students who ask the question “What contribution should we make to the world?,” and prepares its students to become thoughtful and active citizens who engage with the challenges before them.