Message to the Cooper Engineering Community -- June 2, 2020

Dear School of Engineering Community,

The killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and Breonna Taylor, following the deaths of so many other members of the black community makes clear that systemic discrimination and unjust racial disparities continue to plague our country.  As an institution of higher education, we have an obligation to fight ignorance and intolerance, to model inclusivity, and embrace diversity and inclusion and the power it represents.  In these particularly difficult times, we should draw strength, purpose and commitment from our mission to be “a free center of learning and civic discourse that inspires inventive, creative, and influential voices in architecture, art and engineering to address the critical challenges and opportunities of our time.”   Nelson Mandela once said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

We would be remiss if we did not draw attention to own Core Values, articulated in our Strategic Plan, that include Respect and Diversity and Inclusion. We (aspire to) treat others as they would have us treat them.  As a community, we (aspire to) value, encourage, and promote all aspects of human differences, fostering a culture that embraces a broad variety of personal circumstances, experiences, perspectives, and opinions.  The parenthetical expressions were added to challenge us to consider how we can individually and collectively live these core values to create an environment and community that is free of discrimination, embraces differences and respects all individuals.   

As we seek to express our sadness and anger, as we reflect and raise our voices, as we strive for positive change, please stay safe and look out for one another.

In solidarity,

Barry, Ruben and Lisa

  • 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.