Office of the President

Laura Sparks in Peter Cooper Square, 2016

Laura Sparks in Peter Cooper Square, 2016

Laura Sparks is the president of The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art and a recognized leader in higher education, finance, philanthropy, and community economic development.  

Laura assumed her role at The Cooper Union on January 4, 2017. She is the 13th president of the institution and the first woman to hold the position. Her focus is on improving Cooper’s financial outlook, building collaborative efforts across the community, ensuring that the school continues to provide students with an outstanding educational experience, increasing the institution’s national visibility, and positioning the school for continued excellence in the decades ahead. With her leadership, Cooper is pursuing an ambitious and comprehensive plan to achieve full-tuition scholarships for all undergraduate students, returning Cooper to its roots of providing a free education for students from all walks of life. Financial results have exceeded goal in each of the first three years, reversing decades of deficits, which has allowed for a three-year freeze on tuition, increased scholarship levels, and new investments in academic and student life. Laura has also led a reawakening of the school’s historic Great Hall as an iconic forum where people contest and shape the important issues of our day.

Read her full bio.

Read her Messages to the Cooper community.

President Sparks holds regular Office Hours for faculty, staff, and students to share ideas and concerns. There is also a suggestion box for you to share your thoughts.

  • 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.