Office of the President
Laura Sparks, executive director of the William Penn Foundation in Philadelphia, has been elected president of The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, effective January 4, 2017. Sparks will be the first woman to lead the institution.
Sparks is a leader in the field of community-focused philanthropy. At the William Penn Foundation, a leading philanthropy with an endowment greater than $2 billion, she was responsible for numerous initiatives addressing social and environmental challenges in America’s fifth largest city and for designing programs in education, public space, the arts and the environment. Under her guidance, the foundation launched and refined new strategic priorities, focusing its $115 million grant budget on improvements in urban education for economically disadvantaged children, protection of the water resources serving 15 million people across four states, development of world-class urban parks and trails in underserved communities and cultivation of a vibrant cultural sector. A magna cum laude graduate of Wellesley College, Sparks holds an M.B.A. and a J.D. with honors from the University of Pennsylvania.
Read her Messages to the Cooper community.
Read more about her background.