The Passing of a Distinguished Cooper Colleague and Mentor

Dear Cooper Union,

I write with a heavy heart to let you know that Professor Vito Guido, the George Fox Chair of Civil Engineering at The Cooper Union, passed away over the weekend. Professor Guido was a constant presence within the School of Engineering since joining Cooper as an assistant professor in 1979. He was dedicated to advising our master’s thesis students and civil engineering’s senior capstone design course. Most recently, he played a critical role in re-imagining course scheduling to allow for block scheduling which, beginning this semester, has opened the door for more interdisciplinary learning. He was a staunch advocate for students and a valued colleague to faculty and staff across Cooper. He will be deeply missed. 

With more than 40 years of experience in industry and teaching, Professor Guido was the coordinator of the Geotechnical Engineering program in the Department of Civil Engineering. His interests included sustainable design and storm surge protection. He published numerous professional papers in the application of geosynthetics to foundation and drainage problems and, over the last 30 years, conducted extensive geotechnical engineering consulting in the New York metropolitan area. He was very active in the field, including as a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Order of the Engineer, North American Geosynthetics Society, International Society of Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering, Chi Epsilon, and Tau Beta Pi. He was also a Fellow of ASCE, a prestigious honor held by only 3% of ASCE members that designates celebrated contributions and creative solutions that change lives around the world. He received a Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, and Ph.D. all in civil engineering and all from Polytechnic Institute of New York.

In the words of Dean Barry Shoop: “Professor Guido was respected by colleagues and revered by his students. He was a gentle giant — his stature equally matched by the size of his heart. While an exceptional civil engineer by discipline and training, he was truly a ‘civil’ engineer, in every sense of the word.”

There will be a memorial service for Professor Guido on Wednesday, Sept. 7 from 2–4 pm and 7–9 pm at the John Vincent Scalia Home for Funerals at 28 Eltingville Boulevard on Staten Island. The funeral will be held on Thursday, Sept. 8 and will include a mass. We will share details for the funeral services as they become available.

Each of us processes news of a loss like this in different ways. As always, our care for one another is paramount as is utilizing the resources that are available for support. For faculty and staff, the Employee Assistance Program’s hotline number is 800-252-4555. For students, there are many resources for personal support and care available locally at Cooper, in New York City, and remotely so that support is accessible from anywhere. Check here for listings and information. Students all have access to our Counseling Program, as well as free 24/7 access to Timely Care (telehealth and teletherapy) through Additionally, the Student Care team will offer walk-in hours between 2 and 4 pm on Tuesday, Sept. 6 and Wednesday, Sept. 7 in the Student Affairs suite on the 3rd floor of the residence hall. Students can also reach out to the Student Care team via email at and schedule an appointment to talk with staff as well.

Please check in with each other and let those in your life know that you care. Sometimes we take those sentiments for granted, but hearing those words and receiving support can make all the difference.


  • 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.