Alumni Association President's Column: Fall/Winter 2011

November 22, 2011

Greetings, I’m Peter Cafiero, and I am honored and humbled to have been nominated and elected as the new President of the Cooper Union Alumni Association (CUAA). I have also had the pleasure to get to know our exciting new Cooper Union President, Dr. Jamshed Bharucha, during the few short months that we have both been in our respective positions. Jamshed and I have been working together over the summer and into the fall to advance the relationship between the alumni and the school after a significant number of staff changes at the Alumni Relations office at the end of the last academic year.

Our top priority at the Alumni Association is to build our base of involved and connected alumni (that means YOU!). Through the efforts of VP Alumni Activities Rocco Cetera, we’re creating quick, inexpensive and fun CU Pop Up events all over the New York area. From seeing alumni projects to touring alumni studios to just showing up at a waterfront bar, our CU Pop Ups are a great way to reconnect, network, relax, and learn about exciting developments and the work of your fellow alumni. And thanks to our increasingly active regional groups throughout the country (and the world), you never know where the next CU PopUp will pop up. So your first priority should be to pick one or more of these events that fit your interests and your schedule and come on down and join us. Better yet, if you have an idea for an event, let us know.

But if these great events happened without you finding out, it wouldn’t be much use, would it? Thanks to Communications Committee Chair Karina Tipton and her team, our cualumni.com website, Facebook and LinkedIn presences have never been better, and a great way to find out about all the exciting events that we are doing every month.

We have other exciting developments planned for this year. VP Rob Marano is heading a committee developing a new alumni-to-alumni mentoring program. Look for it in the coming months. And we’re also reinventing traditional CUAA events, like our Founder’s Day alumni awards event. So keep checking the web site for more news.

Of course there is another role that alumni and the Alumni Association absolutely need to play. All of us received a significant gift from Peter Cooper and the alumni who came before us and supported the school in the past. Now it’s our turn to step up and support the current and future generations of Cooper students as they prepare to take their turn on the world stage. Let’s face it—no one likes to ask for money, especially me, and especially now, in today’s economy. And a number of you have been very generous to the school in the past, but I’ll be honest—based on all that we received from Cooper, we really should be doing a lot more to support the school financially than we have been. So now is the time for all of us to step up to the plate and give to the annual fund, another tradition of the CUAA.

So there you have it—a year of transition, yes. But a year that the Alumni Association connects with even more alumni, showcases our unique individual talents and work to each other and the outside world, brings us all together, AND doubles our financial support for Cooper Union’s current mission? It’s ambitious, but with your help, I know we can do it.


  • 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.