Board of Trustees FY 18/19 Wrap-Up

September 3, 2019

Dear Cooper Community,

The Cooper Union Board of Trustees closed the 2018/2019 academic year with its final meeting on June 12, 2019 and is pleased to share with the community some important highlights for the year.

We welcomed five wonderful new trustees onto the Board, representing a diversity of backgrounds, experiences, and interests: Pam Flaherty, Dwight McBride, new student trustee Mahmoud Khair-Eldin CE’21 and alumni trustees Aftab Hussain ME’97 and Margaret Matz AR’83.  Margaret was elected to the Board as the new CUAA President, replacing Paul Nikulin whose term ended June 30. In addition to Paul, alumni trustee Robert Tan and student trustee Mary Dwyer also ended their board terms this fiscal year.  They will be greatly missed as they provided important student and alumni perspectives along with sincere, reasoned insights and counsel on important issues. One of our greatest accomplishments over these last few years has been to live out a model of governance that is shared across alumni, students, faculty and others. We see just how important this model has been as we both eagerly welcome new members and representatives to the Board from all of these groups and as we bid farewell to those who have contributed so much.

One of the most important jobs we have as trustees is setting the overall direction for the institution. Following a process of community input and engagement, the Board approved a set of institutional goals and strategic priorities that will guide us in this next chapter of The Cooper Union’s work, and we are pleased to already see progress on so many of these fronts, including new academic programs, such as the minors in computer science and humanities and social sciences; engagement with the City of New York in our academic programs and a vibrant Great Hall; new multi-disciplinary endeavors; new approaches to addressing mental and physical health; new student activities and spaces; and a commitment to diversity and inclusion. Our faculty and staff have been hard at work, and it shows.

We also see tremendous progress with respect to The Cooper Union’s financial health.  At our June meeting, the Board approved Cooper Union’s operating budget for Fiscal Year 2020, determining our ability to move forward with the first increase in scholarship levels since tuition was instituted in 2014 and holding to our commitment of a 0% increase in the tuition rate.  For the 2019-2020 academic year, undergraduates will receive scholarships that cover 77% of Cooper tuition, on average. The approved FY20 budget also recognizes that Cooper closed FY19 with an operating cash surplus for the second consecutive year and on track with our 10-year financial plan.  

It has been a year of great progress, and we know that the progress has come only with the hard work of our dedicated faculty, staff, and students. We have asked you to rise to what is an extraordinary challenge when we embarked on the 10-Year Plan to Return to Full-Tuition Scholarships, and you are doing it. Know that we see your hard work and the impact it is having, and we are so very grateful for it. We look forward to continued partnership in the year ahead.

Rachel L. Warren
Chair of the Board of Trustees

  • 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.