December 20, 2017

With the holiday season upon us, it’s an especially appropriate time to say thank you, on behalf of the Board of Trustees, for your contributions to The Cooper Union. Your passion and commitment to revitalizing Cooper Union is what will sustain this institution for generations to come. The Board held our Annual Meeting last week, focusing on this very goal, which makes this an equally appropriate time to share some important updates on our progress.

We know that just as the Board has been focused on our future, you too have been hard at work helping to shape it. From the Mission Statement Committee’s work, to the Middle States Accreditation process, to the community-wide collaboration around creating our long-range strategic plan, to serving on the Diversity Task Force, the fact that so many of you are getting involved speaks volumes about our community’s commitment to advancing The Cooper Union. Your contributions to this progress—whether a student, faculty member, staff member or alumni—is essential, is making a difference, and is greatly appreciated.

Last week, the Board of Trustees adopted updated Vision and Mission statements for The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. The Board of Trustees and President Sparks are proud to reaffirm who we are and what we intend to do like no other institution.

The Vision and Mission are more than words. They shape and drive how we govern and the actions we take. Our goal, our pledge, is not just to realize their stated ideals, but to build a sound foundation that will sustain them.

The words of our Vision and Mission are direct and clear. They set a standard for everything we say and do. They were carefully crafted, after listening to diverse constituencies across our community, to honor our heritage and set a bold course for the future.

We hope you will hear the true voices of Peter Cooper and our community in these words.

The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art is dedicated to Peter Cooper’s radical commitment to diversity and his founding vision that fair access to an inspiring free education and forums for courageous public discourse foster a just and thriving world.

Our mission is to sustain The Cooper Union as a free center of learning and civic discourse that inspires inventive, creative, and influential voices in architecture, art, and engineering to address the critical challenges and opportunities of our time.

We are proud—as I hope you are—of the aspirations that these public statements represent; grateful for the input of so many alumni, faculty, staff and students; and eager to bring these words to life as we chart Cooper Union’s future with you.

One of the happy outcomes of our collective effort is a growing momentum that is gaining notice. New people are stepping up and stepping in to support our cause. At the Annual Meeting, the Board elected two new Trustees, Anne Chao and Wanda Felton. The Cooper Union is fortunate to have the talents and energy of these two accomplished women as the Board continues to work in tandem with President Sparks and administrative leadership to forge our path.

Additional Board news from last week’s meeting includes the following:

-I was elected to serve another one-year term as Board Chair, and Eric Hirschhorn ME’89 and Stephen Gerard ME’67 were appointed as Vice-Chairs.
-Johnny Taylor, Malcolm King EE’97 and Eric Hirschhorn ME’89 were elected to serve for second four-year terms. Kevin Slavin A’95 cycled off as an Alumni Trustee (elected through the CUAA) and was elected to serve (nominated by the Board’s Governance Committee) an additional four-year term.
-Liz Diller AR’79 and Jeffrey Hersch EE’87 cycled off the Board. We thank them for their service and dedication to Cooper!
-Lynn Lander CHE’60 (elected through the CUAA) will be seated in March and was invited to attend the meeting as an observing guest.
-The Board approved a Code of Conduct and related policies (Conflict of Interest, University Information and Whistleblower) and an Investment Policy Statement (which applies to the non-real estate assets). These policies can be viewed here.
-President Sparks gave a report on the current state at Cooper and referenced encouraging fundraising and admissions numbers.
-Peggy Farber, Assistant New York State Attorney General and John Oleske, Senior Enforcement Counsel, attended the meeting as observing guests.

It is an exciting time to be part of The Cooper Union. Our momentum is building with many significant events and milestones ahead for the spring semester—including the inauguration of President Sparks. Please save the date of Tuesday, Feb. 6 for this important Cooper moment, and check the website for updates on Inauguration Week events.

On behalf of The Cooper Union Board of Trustees, I wish you and yours a very happy and peaceful holiday season.

Rachel L. Warren