Message from Acting President Bill Mea

December 07, 2016

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My eighteen months as Acting President will conclude at the end of December and I wanted to share with you my thoughts about what this time has meant for me and hopefully for The Cooper Union.

At the Board’s request, in July 2015 I took on the role and responsibilities of Acting President, in addition to my responsibilities as Vice President for Finance & Administration. This was a time still marked by unrest, distrust and bitter divides. To extend my message from commencement, we were indeed a “brokedown palace.” In my first communication to you, I spoke of our need to return to a historical sense of who we were. I also declared my primary goals as Acting President to rebuild trust and heal our community. I believe that, together, we have achieved these goals.

I have heard from a number of you that Cooper Union has returned to the sense of community that it embodied prior to our recent challenges, at least as much as is possible without being free. We all share in this achievement as this sense of community is a collective sense and not owned by one person. We needed an open atmosphere to allow this to happen organically, which is what I tried to provide.

Healing and the rebuilding of trust have begun and will continue. These take time and will grow with continued transparency, listening and actions that are consistent with words. We have all showed that we are open to each other, even when we disagree, and I am grateful for that. 

For me, this opportunity to be the Acting President of The Cooper Union has been a tremendous experience. I have met so many wonderful people in our community: faculty, students, staff, and alumni. You have supported me, challenged me, made me reach beyond my own expectations, and given me confidence in our future, a future in which I will continue to work with all of you towards the ideals of Peter Cooper. I love you more than words can tell.

I remain in your service.

Bill Mea
Acting President       

Photo by Leo Sorel/The Cooper Union

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.