A New Semester Begins

Dear Cooper Union,

Happy New Year, and welcome back.  I am eager to see all that transpires as the spring semester gets underway, and I find it notable that we begin just a day after Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a national day of service in honor of Dr. King’s birthday.  As a student at Morehouse College in 1947, he wrote: 

“Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction.  The function of education, therefore, is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically … We must remember that intelligence is not enough.  Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.” 

Then-student King’s words hold great relevance for us today.  Discerning true from false. Learning to question, to think critically.  The simplicity of these words can disguise the magnitude of their potential.  But today as we begin the new semester, I ask that we center ourselves with these words, to teach and to learn to think intensively and critically.  Our world needs more of this. It’s why we do what we do as a community of scholars, practitioners, and students. It is this pursuit that connects us at The Cooper Union.

I have thought quite a bit over the break about the importance of our connections, and I hope that you’ve been able to connect with others and with yourself in ways that restore and recharge you.  Given the surge of the Omicron variant, those connections may not have been typical and may have required multiple pivots from original plans, but if we’ve learned anything in the last few years, it’s that improvised, and even unexpected experiences can open new doors and contribute significantly to our resilience and sense of wellbeing.  While we’re not yet back in person at Cooper, we are back together in ways that have become familiar, and I hope that you will give to and draw from your community connections in ways that uplift and inspire you, no matter where you are. 

I am energized by the opportunities that await and the momentum that we can build upon together. 

With gratitude, 


  • 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.