June 12, 2013 Board Report

Dear members of the Cooper Union Community:

Below is a summary of the major elements of the June 12, 2013, Board of Trustees Meeting:

MAJOR GIFT: The board gratefully accepted a gift from Trustee Jeffrey Gural of $1 million over ten years to support The Cooper Union’s Saturday Program, ensuring the program’s continued efforts in arts education for New York City youth.  The program, which was started by Cooper Union undergraduates in the 1960’s, annually provides approximately 225 talented high school students with free visual arts training.  Many of these students come from households unable to afford costly private studio training, and most attend schools that are woefully lacking resources to provide even limited visual arts programs.  Mr. Gural has served on Cooper Union’s Board of Trustees since 2003.  He is Chairman of Newmark Knight Frank, a full service commercial and industrial real estate management firm that currently manages approximately one hundred fifty buildings in the metropolitan area, and has an ownership interest in forty-one buildings.  His gift will enable the Saturday Program to continue its vital outreach efforts for many years to come. 

ELECTION: Having been duly nominated in March, Catharine Bond Hill, President of Vassar College, was elected to the Cooper Union Board of Trustees today.  Her election to the Board was unanimous.  Dr. Hill is a noted economist whose work focuses on higher education affordability and access, as well as on economic development and reform in Africa.  Her election to the Cooper Union Board of Trustees helps to increase Board diversity.  For additional biographical information please visit: http://president.vassar.edu/biography/

STUDENT REPRESENTATION ON THE BOARD: The Committee on Trustees was previously charged by the Board of Trustees with investigating the subject of student trustees and to make a recommendation at the June Board meeting.  Following a review of the findings and a lengthy discussion about the opportunities and challenges such representation might pose, the Board approved a motion affirming the Board’s intention to have student representation on the Board of Trustees, with details to be determined at the September Board of Trustees meeting. 

SUCCESSION PLANNING: With the Chairman’s term limit coming due in December, the Board of Trustees is now engaged in a succession planning process to identify the next Chairman of The Cooper Union Board of Trustees.  For more information please see:

o   Characteristics for Consideration in Nominating a Potential Chairman

§  Position description for the Board Chair

o   Timetable for selection and election of Board Chair



  • 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.