Derek Wittner

Vice President of Alumni Affairs and Development

Derek Wittner has been the Vice President for Alumni Affairs and Development since the summer of 2010. The position expands Cooper Union’s fund raising efforts during these challenging economic times, and the entire Cooper community was delighted to welcome Derek C. Wittner to fill the position. Mr. Wittner was previously Dean of Columbia College Alumni Affairs and Development and Deputy Vice President of University Development and Alumni Affairs at Columbia University, where he served in various capacities for the previous seventeen years. A graduate of Columbia College and Columbia Law School, he worked as a practicing attorney specializing in securities law for more than twenty years before committing his talents to the non-profit sector. He is the co-author of a book on state securities laws, and has lectured extensively on corporate legal issues.

At Cooper, Mr. Wittner directly manages the development and alumni affairs staff, including major gifts, institutional grants, planned giving, alumni events, celebrations and communications, development research and database management staff and systems. He is a frequent contributor to publications about development and alumni relations and a panelist on these topics. He also works very closely with the Board of Trustees to articulate and realize Cooper Union’s fundraising goals.

  • 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.