We had discussed a gift before he died – it wasn’t just my idea. I believe that his amazing spirit of working really came from those years at Cooper, and we felt that a gift would be a wonderful way to keep his memory alive.
I know how much Cooper Union meant to my late husband Dimitri (A’50). Although he had studied chemistry at Brooklyn Tech, it was after he returned from the Pacific during WWII, that he became interested in being an artist. After his tour of duty was over, he returned to his old job in the chemistry lab in New York City. They were re-organizing at the time, and suggested he take a break. At this time he took painting classes at the YHMA. The instructor recognized his talent, and since there was little money at that time, he helped by seeing he had all the extra paints and canvasses needed. Friends he made there were taking the exams for admission to Cooper Union - he thought that was a good idea and went along too. He was the only one to be accepted! He always said that the teachers he had at Cooper were inspirational. Art became his life, and this would never have been the case if it hadn’t been for those special student years. At the end of his program, he applied for and received a Fulbright Fellowship to study sculpture in Greece. After a year in Athens, the GI Bill was inaugurated, offering free schooling. Since Cooper had been free, he was eligible, so he moved to Rome where he went to school. It was after living 25 years in Rome, working in his studio, showing work around Europe and the U.S., doing large commissions that he was invited by Harvard to teach sculpture and was offered the position of Professor of Visual Studies. However he was always very proud of being a student at Cooper Union, especially so after being recognized by the St. Gaudens Award in 1989. We had discussed a gift before he died – it wasn’t just my idea. I believe that his amazing spirit of working really came from those years at Cooper, and we felt that a gift would be a wonderful way to keep his memory alive.