The February 19, 2019 CUAA Council meeting was held at 41 Cooper Square Room LL101.  Approximately 15 alumni, students and staff attended in person.[1]  31 people viewed the Livestream video.

The meeting began at 6:30 PM with a presentation by Irisa Llana Eng’20 and Boray Toktay CE‘19 of the Cooper Union Hyperloop Team. The Hyperloop team, which was founded in January 2018, has 42 student members working on 6 subsystem teams. The goal is to build a pod that will travel as fast as possible along a central rail in SpaceX’s tube, which is 6 feet in diameter and 1.25 km long. Maximum velocity wins: the current record is 290 mph; the Cooper pod, which consists mostly of aluminum under a carbon fiber shell, can reach roughly 275 mph.

The team is currently among 40 teams being considered for 22 final positions. It is looking to raise $35,000 to build a pod. In comparison, many of the competitors spend upwards of $100,000 on a pod.  The team is currently designing the pod and fundraising. Through 2019, every dollar given towards the team’s campaign will be matched 1:1 up to $15,000, thanks to a generous donor. The donating link is here:

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President Paul Nikulin CE’06 opened the business meeting at 7:05 p.m.

Steve Verderese EE’84 made a motion to approve the January Council meeting minutes, which was seconded by Shankar Venkataraman BSE’03. The minutes were approved.

Committee Updates

Nils Folke Anderson A’94, chair of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) Committee,(which is charged with updating the MOA, last updated in 2000, with the School),gave an explanation of why the committee was formed and what it has been doing. The MOA Committee has worked for about 2 years on a report that documents how the CUAA, and the CU administration coordinate their activities and work together on their missions which have a large overlap.  The committee has sought input from various alumni with direct experience,on the School-CUAA relationship and will distribute a draft report in advance of the March 26th CUAA Council meeting. The draft report will be presented and discussed at March 26th CUAA Council meeting and alumni input will be sought.

After incorporating input from the March 26th Council meeting, the MOA Committee will present the MOA terms to Ex Comm.  Nils said that he expects himself, CUAA President Paul Nikulin CE’06, Annual Fund Chair Carol Wolf A’84 and Annual Fund Co-Chair Karina Tipton CE’90, to begin directly discussing a new MOA with the School by April 2019.  The MOA Committee will then report back to the council on its progress and present a proposal for an up or down vote by the Council in the Fall.

Darrell Low EE’89, a member of the Nominating Committee, presented the slate of CUAA candidates for the 2019 Spring Election.  The committee has been meeting since September to vet and choose candidates.  The 2019 slate is:

Alumni Trustees

  • Amy Sadao, Art ‘95
  • Elizabeth Graziolo, Arch ‘95
  • Aftab Hussain, Eng ‘97


  • Margaret Matz, Arch ‘83
  • Standish Lee, Arch ‘11


  • Mary Lynch, Eng ‘82

VP Events

  • Kelly Occhiuzzo Zack, Art ‘90

VP Faculty Student Liaison

  • Mina Greenstein, Art ’56
  • Mark O’Grady, Art ‘76


  • Daniel Burke, Eng ‘81

Nominating Committee

  • Daniel Burke, Eng ‘81
  • Jennifer Collins, Art ‘93
  • James Liubicich, Eng ‘83
  • Scott Lyne, Eng ‘92
  • Darrell Low, Eng ‘89
  • Kay Nordstrom, Eng ‘77
  • Susan Shaw, Art ‘72
  • Laura Spinner, Art ’90
  • Lily Zand, Arch ‘88

Darrel pointed out that there are only 9 alumni nominated so far for the Nominating committee so far.  Additional nominations will be taken during this meeting.  Claudia Giordano A’76 nominated herself.


  • Sim Blaustein, Eng ‘99
  • Henry Chapman, Art ’10
  • Nanwei Chen, Eng ‘13, ‘15
  • Josiah Ellis, Art ‘15
  • Mina Greenstein, Art ‘56
  • M’Liz Keefe, Art ‘85
  • Dennis Kong, Eng ‘08
  • Robert Kudder, Eng ‘67
  • Mary Lynch, Eng ‘82
  • Anthony Manganiello, Eng ‘06
  • Genevieve Martin, Art ‘11
  • Margaret Matz, Arch ‘83
  • Laura Spinner, Art ‘90
  • Mark Vasquez, Eng ‘88
  • Mersiha Veledar, Arch ‘03
  • Curtis Wayne, Arch ‘75
  • Scott Wilson, Art ‘76

Darrell Low said alumni registration on is open through April 23, 2019, and the election will run from March 15, 2019 to April 30, 2019.  Biographical materials will be posted on website.  Steve Verderese EE’84 made a motion to approve the slate (except for the Nominating Committee) and Mina Greenstein A’56 seconded the motion.  The slate of candidates was approved.

Paul Nikulin said that we are grateful to Kay Nordstrom ME’77 for chairing the Nominating Committee and asked for a round of applause.

Standish Lee, Arch ’11 gave an update on the Annual Fund.  As of January 30th, the FY 2019 Annual Fund has collected $1.8MM, with 12% alumni participation, which is down from the full FY 2018 numbers of $3.0 MM and 16.2% participation. Paul Nikulin noted that the participation numbers may be skewed by last year’s Irma Weiss matching challenge, but we do need to make a greater effort to get participation up.

Event Announcements

Paul Nikulin announced some upcoming events:

  • Mock Interview Night is February 28th at 5:30–8:30 p.m. at the School. This is open to all Cooper students.
  • Mark Vasquez is moderating a talk on February 28th in the Rose Auditorium, entitled Shaping the Future Workforce: Transformative Impacts of Emerging Technologies.
  • Spring Alumni Trustee Function is March 5th at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, which has a plethora of new venues.
  • Shabbat Potluck Lunch with CU Hillel Association will take place on Saturday March 9th, 2019.
  • Meet the Candidates Night is April 3, 2019.  
  • The Cooper Doggy Playdate is Saturday April 13th, 2019 at Tompkins Square Park

Alumni Trustee Lynn Lander Eng’60 announced the Spring Alumni Trustee Reception will be on March 5, 2019 at Situ Studios in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Standish Lee AR’11 announced there will be a Portfolio Review Day for Architects on March 2nd from 1 to 4 PM.  If you are interested in helping with that, contact Jolie Woodson in the CU Career Office.

Paul extended a special thanks to Carol Wolf A’84, Lily Zand AR’88, Mary Lynch ChE’82, and Ed Palacio EE’78 for chairing the Award committees and Laura Spinner A’89 for chairing the CUAA Award Ceremony committee.

Paul also recapped the 2019 CUAA Award Winners:

  • Gano Dunn Award for professional achievement in engineering, industry, science, or finance goes to Marisa Lago Phy’77.  Margo is the Director of the New York City Department of City Planning and Chair of the City Planning Commission.  
  • Peter Cooper Public Service Award for exemplary service to the public goes to Lyn Pentecost PhD A’70. Lyn is a serial social justice entrepreneur. In 1996, she co-founded the Lower Eastside Girls Club, which has served over 16,000 girls, one-third of whom lives below the poverty line.
  • John Q. Hejduk Award for professional achievement in architecture goes to Joan Ockman Ar’80. Joan is an architectural historian, critic, and educator.   
  • Augustus Saint-Gaudens Award for professional achievement in art goes to Meredith Bergman A’77 is a sculptor, poet, and essayist. Meredith works on both public monuments and on a private scale that explores issues of social justice, race, human rights, and the human condition.
  • The 2019 CUAA Alumnus of the Year goes to Robert Tan AR’81.  Robert Tan has most recently served as Chair of the FEC committee and as Alumni Trustee.  He has been serving the school and the CUAA in numerous capacities for about 20 years.

The next Council meeting will be on March 26th, 2019.

Steve Verderese. made a motion to adjourn the meeting, which was seconded by Shankar Shankar Venkataraman BSE’03. The meeting ended at 8:24 p.m. The next Council Meeting will be March 26, 2019.

Minutes taken by Ron Vogel and edited by Mary Lynch

[1] In person attendees: Paul Nikulin CE ’06, Stephen Verderese EE84, Nils Folke Anderson A’94, Lynn Lander ChE ’60, Lily Zand, AR ‘88, Daniel P. Burke, Esq., ChE ‘81, Lawrence (Larry) Levine, AR ‘69, Shankar Venkataraman, BSE ‘03, Mark O’Grady, A ‘76, Mina Greenstein A’56, Darrell Low EE ’89, Ron Vogel ChE ’01/MChE ’15., Standish Lee, Irene Pann ’12, Chris Curro EE ’13. Phone attendees include:  Margaret Matz AR ’83, Dr. James Haywood Rolling, Jr., A ’88 (phone), Bernard (Bernie) Codd, ChE ’83 (Bernie Codd), Mark A. Vasquez ME’88, Laura Spinner A’89, M’Liz Keefe A’85