February 18, 2021 – Held via Zoom

Meeting started at 6:30 pm.

Approximately 35 alumni participated.

Margaret Matz (CUAA President) introduced the guest speaker, August Ventura (Ar ‘81) who would present regarding Verdi and how he has similarities to Peter Cooper.

August Ventura presented background regarding Giuseppe Verdi. As part of that, he mentioned the Club of 27 which is 27 men, each of whom is assigned a Verdi opera. August addressed news coverage of Verdi-related events. He then referred to a speech by James Baldwin that when there is revolution, there is also potential for great art. In Verdi’s time, Italy was not a country (until 1861), it was a group of city-states. There was a push to make opera more political – opera was well attended, while there were no newspapers or other news outlets. Music was a good way to exchange ideas. Italy’s risorgimento was similar to social media of today and could be compared to the Arab Spring. For example, one of the operas says “Long live Italy…”  At the opera, a riot broke out due to people’s enthusiasm for a united Italy and the audience cheered for an entire act. The risorgimento was meant to establish a republic, but then thought it was better to ally with Vittorio Emanuele Re D’Italia – which is abbreviated as Verdi, so “Viva Verdi” was code for the movement. Verdi’s operas reflect issues of today including political and social unrest, inequality, political refugees, and other issues that are on the front pages of today’s newspapers.

Anna Brook (CUAA Secretary) presented the November 19, 2020 Meeting Minutes. There were no proposed edits. The November 19, 2020, Meeting Minutes were approved by unanimous consent. Anna Brook presented the December 17, 2020 Meeting Minutes. Edits were addressed and incorporated. The December 17, 2020, Meeting Minutes were approved by unanimous consent. Anna Brook presented the January 21, 2021 Meeting Minutes. Edits were addressed and incorporated. The January 21, 2021, Meeting Minutes were approved by unanimous consent.

Mary Lynch (Chair of the Nominating Committee) presented the slate of candidates for the 2021 election. Mary explained that there would be a vote for the slate of candidates, and then a call for nominees to the 2021 Nominating Committee.

The Alumni Trustee nominees are Anthony Ianno EE’85 and Lou Manzione ChE’75

President nominees are Robert Tan AR’81 and Mark A. Vasquez ME ‘88

VP Alumni Activities nominee is Kelly Occhiuzzo Zack A’90

VP Student/Faculty Liaison nominees are Brian Rose A’79 and Claudia Giordano A’76

Secretary nominee is Anna Brook BSE ‘04

Treasurer nominees are Bernie Codd ChE’83 and Ron Vogel ChE’01

There are 17 candidates for 2021-2024 Council, 12 will be elected. The Council candidates are:

  1. Frank Cantelmi ME’93
  2. Harry Donas, ChE ’83
  3. James Haywood Rolling Jr. A’88
  4. Mariam Cantelmi AR’95
  5. Danel Galperin ChE’18
  6. Brian Rose A’79
  7. Bernie Codd ChE’83
  8. Donato Giacalone AR’83
  9. Patricia Reddington ME’91
  10. Edwin DeLeon ChE’14
  11. Frank Godlewski AR’82
  12. Doug Sharrot BSE ’83
  13. Jean Ulrick Desert AR’85
  14. Scott Lyne ChE’92
  15. Miriam Vidal AR’93
  16. Shannon Pultz A’93
  17. Rachel Whittlow A’94

Anna Brook moved to approve the slate of candidates. Curtis Wayne seconded. The 2021 slate of candidates was approved by unanimous consent (Carol Wolf abstained).

Mary Lynch called for nominations to the Nominating Committee. The following candidates were proposed:

  1. Claudia Giordano
  2. Jim Liubicich
  3. Barry Drogin
  4. Patricia Reddington
  5. Laura Spinner
  6. Stephanie Reyer
  7. Mary Lynch
  8. Yvetter Francis
  9. Patrick Girvin
  10. Abdur Chatni
  11. Ira Pierce
  12. Justin Richter
  13. Vincent Hui
  14. Cierra Lowe
  15. Andre Pennycooke
  16. Standish Lee
  17. Michelle Lederer
  18. Sanjeev Menon
  19. Daniel Galperin
  20. Anthony Paul Simonetti
  21. Rachel Appel
  22. Scott Lyne

Mark A. Vasquez moved to approve the conditional slate of candidates for the Nominating Committee. Curtis Wayne seconded. The conditional slate of candidates for the Nominating Committee was approved by unanimous consent. The Nominating Committee will contact each candidate and ask if they accept the nomination.

Margaret Matz designated Anna Brook as the chair for the remainder of the meeting.

Mary Lynch demonstrated how to register to receive election ballots and how to update contact information on the CUAA website.

Shankar Venkataraman (Chair of Elections Committee) announced that the election would start on March 15 and end on April 30. Mark A. Vasquez moved to approve the election start date as March 15 and end date as April 30. Carol Wolf seconded the motion. The motion was approved by unanimous consent.

Brendan Fernes (Vice-Chair of the Annual Fund Committee) presented on behalf of the Annual Fund Committee. Brendan reiterated the goal of 100% alumni participation. Through December 31, total current use funds are at $4.4M versus $3.5M in the previous year. Individual donor giving is at $2.6M versus $2.3M last year. The total amount raised for the Annual Fund itself is lower than last year at the same time ($1.6M v. $1.8M), which may be related to the pandemic. Organizational donor giving is about on par with the previous year. Total fundraising, including pledges, is at $6.6M v. $4.0M through Dec. 31. Overall percentage of alumni donors is down somewhat from the previous year.

The Cooper Together campaign surpassed its goal of $230K and raised $245K with checks still coming in. It was able to reach more geographically diverse donors and participants.

A recap of goals was that 100% Council participation was achieved, but there is still a long way to go to 100% alumni participation. The $4M goal for July 2020 to June 2021 has been achieved. Upcoming initiatives include a “Penny for Your Thoughts” campaign and an affinity groups participation competition.

Bernie Codd (Chair of Communications Committee) presented on behalf of the Communications Committee.  Bernie discussed the upcoming March newsletter. The deadline for submissions is February 28. Bernie noted that the Committee needs volunteers with graphic art expertise to assemble the newsletter. He reminded committee chairs that they can post things themselves to CUAA social media. The next pressing email blast will be information regarding elections.

Anna Brook (Chair of MOA Committee) announced that the Executive Committee voted to reconstitute the MOA committee and asked for those interested in being a part of the committee to contact her.

Mark A. Vasquez (Chair of Events Committee) presented on behalf of the Events Committee. He reported on past events, including First Tuesdays trivia nights, alumni showcases, and the awards ceremony. The next alumni showcase will feature Don Kunz. March First Tuesdays event will be an art-themed trivia night. The March alumni showcase will feature Larry Hausman. April events will be First Tuesdays storytelling hour, alumni showcase with James Haywood Rolling, Jr., and a virtual tour of Green-Wood Cemetery with Barry Drogin. Mark noted that the Events Committee is doing more with less budget. The budget was $2,500 for 2020-2021, and the current forecast is $600, and the committee has reached more alumni and had more events than the previous year. The events registration pages include a note that the programming is free and requesting that alumni make donations to Cooper Union. Mark noted that virtual events allow alumni from around the world to participate, as opposed to in-person events that are limited to the NY metro area.  Barry Drogin asked about trying to replicate informal mingling in online events. Mark agreed that if possible, it would be good to develop a more unstructured event to allow people to mingle.

Donato Giacalone (VP Faculty/Student Liaison) presented on behalf of the Faculty/Student Liaison Committee. The semester is just beginning and therefore a more complete report would be presented during future meetings.

Barry Drogin moved that during the pandemic while Council meetings are conducted completely virtually, the Council prefers that opening presentations by non-Council members be limited to 15 to 20 minutes, including question and answer time. Mark A. Vasquez seconded the motion. There was discussion regarding optimal scheduling for guest presenters. Anna Brook noted that a vote could not take place due to lack of quorum. Mark A. Vasquez suggested a straw poll to gauge opinions given that there is no quorum.

Curtis Wayne presented an amendment to Barry’s motion that the featured alum presentation be at the end of Council business. Mark A. Vasquez agreed that it would be a good idea to put the alumni presentation after Council business. Barry accepted Curtis’s amendment to his motion.

The straw poll showed that the majority of voting members present favored the proposed motion. Those opposed noted that it would be unfair to invited speakers if Council business ran over the allotted time. A proposed solution was to finish Council business after the presentation. It was noted that virtual meetings are a temporary situation and hopefully will be back to in-person. There were two abstentions from the straw poll.

Anna Brook moved to adjourn. Mark A. Vasquez seconded the motion. The meeting adjourned at 9:05 pm.