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A Letter from Dean Germano

Friends and colleagues,

As we close in on Commencement, I’ve decided to conclude my tour of duty as Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.

I’ve served Cooper in this role for eleven years, and am particularly proud of diversifying course offerings, making three full-time appointments, reviving the post-doctoral fellowships, strengthening the Writing Center, establishing an HSS minor, working with deans in the Schools as well as three presidents and one acting president, and bringing scores of talented people to Cooper to teach as adjunct faculty.

Deaning is constant but largely invisible work, yet it’s never done alone. To those of you who have helped me do my work here  -- on the HSS faculty, in the dean’s office, in the Schools, in the President's office, in the Cooper Library, at the Writing Center, in Buildings and Grounds and Development and Public Affairs and the Business Office and the Mail Room and IT and Frankie’s  – it’s not possible to name names -- deep and abiding thanks.  

And of course the students. One of the most enjoyable parts of my job has, in fact, been the non-administrative work in the classroom. I’ve taught each of the past twenty-two semesters.

So, next steps. 

I’ll be taking the 2017-2018 year away. A little break to get some writing done, and I’ll be back as professor of English literature, devoted to teaching, research, and service to Cooper.

Thanks, everybody. See you in a year.


William Germano
Dean and Professor
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

  • 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.