Milton Glaser to Deliver 2015 Commencement Address

April 07, 2015

Photograph by Michael Somoroff

Photograph by Michael Somoroff

Celebrated artist and designer Milton Glaser A’51 will deliver the keynote address at Cooper’s 2015 commencement ceremony. The Cooper Union’s 156th graduation will take place in The Foundation Building’s historical Great Hall on Wednesday, May 27, 2015 at 10:30 a.m.

A co-founder of both New York and Push Pin Graphics magazines, Mr. Glaser is one of the most influential and prolific designers in the United States of the last century. A graduate of Cooper’s School of Art, his work spans many disciplines including graphics, interiors, furniture and products. Known for the iconic I Love NY logo and the World Health Organization’s International AIDS symbol, Mr. Glaser was the first graphic designer to be awarded a National Medal of Arts in 2009. His work has been featured in solo shows at the Museum of Modern Art, the Georges Pompidou Center and The Philadelphia Museum of Art.

“I cannot imagine anything more intimidating or rewarding than the privilege to speak at this event,” said Glaser, who added, “I'll try not to say anything stupid.”

After graduating in 1951 from Cooper, Mr. Glaser received a Fulbright Scholarship to study at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna, Italy. After returning to the United States, he co-founded Push Pin Studios in 1954 with fellow Cooper classmates Seymour Chwast A’51, Reynold Ruffins A’51 and Edward Sorel A’51. Mr. Glaser went on to co-found New York Magazine in 1968 with Clay Felker and teamed with Walter Bernard in 1983 to form the publication design firm WBMG. His current studio, Milton Glaser, Inc., is a multidisciplinary design firm established in 1974 that specializes in print and web design, including corporate identity and logos, and environmental and interior design. He received the 2004 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, for his profound and meaningful long-term contribution to the contemporary practice of design. Mr. Glaser, who also served as a trustee for Cooper and the School of Visual Arts where he also was an instructor, was born and continues to reside in New York.

“Mr. Glaser is an influential figure in both the design and education communities, who has created some of the most enduring images of our time,” said President Jamshed Bharucha. “He embodies all that a Cooper graduate can achieve both in art and business, and his work continues to inspire and influence designers to this day.”

  • 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.