Running For: Alumni Council

Barry Verstaendig, CE’03

Campaign Statement and Biography

I’m running for a seat on the alumni council because my years of Cooper Union changed the course of my life. After growing up in a homogenous community, Cooper Union was the place where I was first exposed to people of different backgrounds and opinions. Cooper Union was where I learned to carefully listen to other people’s views and think about them critically, and that proved to be a vastly more important lesson than the technical engineering knowledge I gained; that experience enabled my subsequent career working for a variety of companies in a variety of roles in a variety of countries.

Unfortunately, Cooper Union has recently been the subject of incredibly negative publicity which can only mean that the culture somehow changed in the twenty years since I graduated. But I’m back in the New York area now, and I intend to do everything I can to preserve Peter Cooper’s vision for his school, where everyone can take advantage of its opportunities regardless of their financial situation, where no one is intimidated, where each individual is respected, and where everyone can be who they are.