Robert Tan AR’81

Running for: President

Campaign Statement

Cooper Union and the CUAA continues to be strong for the almost 20 years that I have been dedicated to its purpose and mission.

The School has seen challenges, and my interest and participation have helped to realize a new forward direction, while returning to a full scholarship institution.

The reasons I would like to become President of the CUAA are:

  • To solidify CUAA engagement with the School and the Board of Trustees by completing the Memorandum of Agreement.
  • To Strengthen the CUAA’s fundamental committee structure:

To improve a successful volunteer organization that generates inventive ideas

and, most importantly, to empower and galvanize committees to implement those ideas.

  • To increase membership by engaging current students and recent graduates with Alumni through presentations in person and in zoom meetings.

Using my existing relationships in the Cooper community, I believe I can effectively support the importance of the CUAA’s contribution to the Board of Trustees and the School.

My vision is to facilitate the vital voices of the Alumni, and to articulate those voices and ideas with the Trustees and School.

We must also support the School with donations in both resources and time, while simultaneously improving the impact and the effectiveness of the CUAA.


Robert Tan is a Partner at Gerrard + Tan Architects and a fixture at The Cooper Union. He was selected as the CUAA Alumnus of the year in 2019. He served as an Alumni Trustee on the Cooper Union Board of Trustees from 2014 to 2018 and, before that, in numerous roles as part of the CUAA Council, including key roles in the Annual Fund, Events, Communications, Constitution, and John Q. Hejduk Award Committees. 

Robert Tan was a co-Chair of the 2009 Founder’s Day Dinner Dance. Between 2009 and 2014 he served as CUAA Secretary/Treasurer, a member of the Annual Fund, Events, Constitution, and the John Q. Hejduk Award Committees, and a non-voting Alumni Representative on the Board of Trustees Development Committee.

He has been an ambassador for the Cooper community on and off campus—he and his wife have hosted several celebrations for Cooper Union staff and students in their home. Robert also served on The Cooper Union Presidential Search Committee that selected Laura Sparks. 

Robert has been integral in efforts towards a Return to Free. He was elected to the CU Gural Borkowsky Working Group Committee in a special alumni election. This committee was given only 7 weeks to study the school’s finances and come up with an alternative to charging tuition. Robert next chaired the Cooper Union Free Education Committee (FEC), which, in conjunction with Board, developed the plan for returning the school to full tuition scholarships within 10 years.