Lyn Pentecost A 1970

Running For: Alumni Trustee

Campaign Statement

I am committed to free and relevant public education.  Education is the backbone of democracy and equity in a time when both are under stress. I have personally benefited from the education I received at public schools, The Cooper Union and State Universities, Unsaddled by debt, I have been able to ‘pay it forward’ in many ways. I also hold a deep belief in the value of interdisciplinary education, which for me was the core of my Cooper Union experience, and prepared me for much of the work I do today as an artist, activist and anthropologist.

I work globally and locally
I am committed to many social justice causes. As a serial entrepreneur in arts and education I have helped found and support organizations in low-income communities throughout the United States and around the globe. I have always maintained roots in the Lower Eastside. In 2010, together with the women from our community, I built a $20M facility for low-income middle and high school girls just blocks from Cooper Union. We opened in 2013 and offer much of the same curriculum (on an introductory level) as a student in Cooper Union would encounter: Engineering, Humanities and Arts.  And like Cooper Union past (and soon again) the Lower Eastside Girls Club charges no tuition!

I have development experience.
Although I don’t have ‘deep pockets’, I am a creative fundraiser and look forward to sharing my modest skills to help Cooper Union amplify its unique role in the world of higher education.

I raised a Cooper family.
My son Mickey Pentecost is also an alumni, graduating from Cooper Union Engineering in 2003  and FYI- during my Cooper years I was known as Lyn Tiefenbacher.


A community leader dedicated to improving the lives of low-income youth and their families, Lyn Pentecost has orchestrated many successes over 30 years, predominantly in her own neighborhood in New York City’s Lower Eastside. She co-founded and was the first director and development officer of The Children’s Art Workshop, a pioneering program in the community arts and education movement of the 1970s and ‘80s. From there she moved to the education department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, designing and implementing community outreach programs. As a board member and chair of the board for Coalition Housing for 8 years, Dr. Pentecost was responsible for the development of hundreds of affordable housing units on the Lower East Side.

Dr. Pentecost co-founded the Lower Eastside Girls Club in 1996 to fill a dearth of options available to the community’s 16,000 girls, one-third of whom lives below the poverty line. Guided by Dr. Pentecost’s skill at building organizational capacity, the Girls Club has flourished in the delivery of high-quality services. In 2013 she presided at the opening of the newest community center in lower Manhattan- a facility-based institution promising multiple, forward-thinking services to benefit girls, their families and the greater community of New York City

Dr. Pentecost holds a BFA degree from The Cooper Union School of Art where she studied photography, graphic design, and architecture. There she had the opportunity to study with two very different visionary architects, John Hejduk and Paolo Soleri, and is now thrilled that a building of her own founding purpose and design has been constructed in her community.

Dr. Pentecost received her Masters degree in Visual Anthropology and Doctorate In Urban Anthropology from Temple University, She taught as an adjunct professor for four years in the Department of Anthropology at the City University of New York and ten years in the Metropolitan Studies Program at New York University. She studied with anthropologist and filmmaker Jean Rouch and conducted fieldwork in Mexico and New York City. Her ethnographic documentary digital films are in the collections of the New York Public Library, The Museum of Modern Art NYC, The Musee de L’Homme, Paris, the National Museum of Art, Tokyo, Museo Na Balom in Chiapas, Mexico, and university libraries throughout the country.

Over her career, Dr. Pentecost has been active in and sat on the boards of several community organizations, among them are: The Lower Eastside Hispanic Housing Coalition, Children’s Liberation Day Care Center, and The Collegiate Church Corporation of New York. She currently sits on the advisory board of Camp Fowler in the Adirondack Mountains.

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