The 2020 Founder’s Day Awards were Awarded to 5 extraordinary alumni the evening of 2/12/20 during an award ceremony held in conjunction with the Cooper Together Celebration held on Peter Cooper’s Birthday. Link to Video The ceremony opened with a video produced by Susan Shaw honoring members of The Cooper Union Hall of Fame produced by Susan Shaw A’77. Additional Photos of the ceremony are available here.
The Ceremony was held in the Rose Auditorium, located inside the 41 Cooper Square Academic Building, and was a sold out event.
Cooper Union President, Laura Sparks opened the event and said how excited she was that this year there are simultaneous Cooper Together celebrations being held at 12 locations around the world.
Laura Spinner A’90, Chair of the CUAA Awards Committee, spoke about the John Q. Hejduk, Gano Dunn, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, and Peter Cooper. These are the individuals for whom the awards are named. She then explained what each of the Founder’s Day Awards are given for. Winners of these four awards are automatically members of the CU Alumni Hall of Fame.
Dr. Eli Reshotko spoke about his career which began with a PhD from The Cooper Union. He has worked in aerodynamics and fluid mechanics. He spent much of his career at NASA and and was inducted into the NASA Hall of Fame in 2016.
Juan Sanchez A’77 spoke about his journey to the Cooper Union and about his career since. He mentioned that he is and alumnus of the Saturday Program and he is pleased that that program is being recognized this evening. Juan Sanchez combines painting and photography with media clippings and found objects to confront America’s political policies and social practices concerning Puerto Rico. Juan’s parents are from Puerto Rico.
Vaughn Lewis introduced Marina Gutierrez A’81 via video
Marina Guitierrez A’81 spoke about the Cooper Union Saturday Program that she has been a part of for almost 40 years. She described how she began as a teacher in the Saturday Program while she was a Cooper Student and went on to lead the program following her graduation in 1981. The program has survived multiple cut-backs in funding, because of grants secured by Marina as well as donations from the program’s alumni. She spoke of the life skills that the program provides and how the program places an emphasis on helping students get into college. Thousands of NYC high school students have graduated from the Saturday program and gone on to college. Many of them have been accepted into The Cooper Union and many have gone on to become art educators. Multiple alumni of the Saturday Program were in the audience and cheered for Marina.
Robert Tan AR’81 introduced Darrell Low EE’89 via video.
Darrell Low spoke about his service to both the school and the CUAA. He focused on his time as co-chair of the Annual Fund and made a plea to all in attendance to continue to support the school via supporting the Annual fund.