President Bharucha's Letter re: Superstorm Sandy

November 01, 2012

Dear Members of the Cooper Community,

I hope this message finds you safe as you are coping with the dislocations of Hurricane Sandy.

We have not received any news of any accidents or personal injuries to any members of the Cooper community at this time. In addition, we are fortunate to not have sustained any serious damage to our facilities. Unfortunately, the grand old tree at the northeast corner of Peter Cooper Park has been uprooted. But our flags fly proudly over the Foundation Building -- torn by the wind but flying nonetheless. New York City authorities have done a magnificent job managing the situation as it unfolds, and our staff on duty has performed admirably.

We are hearing many stories of the tremendous resilience of members of our community. Some employees have reported serious damage to their homes and vehicles. Students, faculty and staff without power have adapted by moving in with friends and family, or by settling in with candles and flashlights, in some cases having to walk up many flights of stairs to their apartments and rooms. The students who remained in the residence hall through the storm were making the best of the situation and were in good spirits. I found some of them playing pool! At the time of this posting, all students in the residence hall have found alternative accommodations. Chris Chamberlin and the RA staff have been heroic in their efforts to assist students who have vacated the hall to find alternative, safe housing.

Jessie and I were deeply moved when a cleaning crew member walked to Cooper from the Bronx, leaving his home at 5 a.m., in order to be available for whatever work was needed on campus, where he slept that night before returning home the next day. Indeed, many members of our security and maintenance teams have stayed at Cooper day and night during the storm and its aftermath, away from their own homes and families, serving Cooper selflessly. Members of our IT staff were in before dawn this morning to get some servers back up, powered by a generator. These are a just a few examples of the strength and dedication of the Cooper Union community. I am interested in hearing about what you experienced during the storm and its aftermath; as soon as our website is up and running we will invite members of the Cooper community to share their storm stories and photos.

I look forward to seeing you on campus when we reopen.

Warm regards,

Jamshed Bharucha

  • 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.