Notes of Encouragement to New Students


This summer, we asked members of the Cooper community, including alumni and parents, to share their thoughts, advice, and general notes of encouragement for students at the beginning of a new school year.

You can add your own here.

Congratulations on getting into Cooper and being a part of such an esteemed college. Soak in all the experiences and classes you can—enjoy every minute of connecting with those that are as passionate as you are you. And remember that you are there to LEARN and you don't have to feel bad for not having all the answers—be willing to risk failure to find new hidden talents. You've already done the hard part—you got into Cooper—so take that confidence that you already have and shine. 


Just two things. The first, Cooper Union's greatest assets are its students. You'll be surrounded by extremely bright hard-working people. Make sure you meet people from all three schools so you can get a broad base of understanding. The second is it's a small school, which means you will have a lot of freedom to start your own programs and ideas. If you show initiative and start something, the school will back you.


You can do it! 


Remember to eat and sleep. You can do this. 


Welcome to four years of challenge and growth! Enjoy your time in one of the most remarkable institutions in the world, in one of the most vibrant communities in the world. If I could give one piece of advice to you: take advantage of your professors' office hours, early and often. It is my single biggest regret that I did not do so: one-on-one time is possibly the most valuable and under-used resource on campus. Looking forward to hearing great things! 


Remember, you may go for free, but you don’t go for nothing!


Good luck and best wishes as you begin the new academic year.


You got this! A journey of 4 years starts with just a step onto 7th Street and 3rd Avenue. Blessings.


Dear students, Congratulations on beginning a long academic journey. Although I was not a Cooper Union graduate, my father was, and his experience at Cooper Union provided the foundation that facilitated him having a successful career in the food industry—where he was a creative force. To commemorate his Cooper Union experience, our family established the Kraut lectureship, particularly devoted to students. We hope you will attend the lecture in October of this year.


Be confident, live in the moment, don't let the moment overwhelm you. Remember, pressure is all created within our own heads! 


You will enjoy every minute over the four years at Cooper. Each day brought a wonderful new experience unlike any you ever had before at any school. Going to Cooper wasn’t like having to go to class, having to tolerate being talked at, at Cooper you are part of the experience. I graduated in 63, the first class getting a BFA degree. If you choose a career, you will find they come to Cooper looking for qualified people. I had a choice at the time (between) Tiffany and Co, Columbia Records, and Readers Digest. (They) came looking for people to employ. I chose Readers Digest and eventually became the art director of condensed and series books domestic and international. So, enjoy every minute.


Enjoy your Cooper Adventure! You are surrounded by the best and the brightest in the most vibrant city on earth. Embrace all that surrounds you. Connect your own creative force to the energy of your colleagues and your NYC campus to magnify your impact. 


Congrats on starting this new adventure. I know you are up for the challenge! You're going to learn so much this year, both academically and about yourself. Good luck! 


Congratulations, incoming students! This can be an exciting, and maybe a little scary, time. Think of Cooper as an opportunity space where you can accomplish great things if you are properly focused. This is a time for your initiative to blossom. Seek out new things to learn; don’t play it too safe; try to stay on the leading edge of the learning curve. Cooper now offers a range of multi discipline team activities, just like the real world. Make it your business to connect with them whenever possible. Be sure to take advantage of the alumni mentoring program to help work through your future education and professional interests and concerns. You have a great opportunity to thrive and excel at Cooper. Make it your business to embrace all that’s offered. May your future be bright! 


I wish you all a great first semester. I was an EE. I would say, try not to worry too much about the grades you get. The workload will be formidable, try to work together with your classmates, and your professors, on things as intimidating as that may seem. And be interested in the work students are doing in the other schools. The unity of the Art, Architecture, and Engineering schools was an issue when I was an undergraduate student, perhaps still is. Enjoy the process and good luck.


With trepidation I applied, and then a most happy message of acceptance. Cooper has been the single most important component of my success as an architect. My peers were each incredible, as the bar for all of us was high. In return, I have friendships and professional relationships that have lasted more than 40 years. I loved and respected our Dean, John Hedjuk, truly the father of the Architecture School. I learned to think freely and critically at Cooper. I have faith in the mentorship given to us from professors who seemed to enjoy the company of the best students—and you are now those best students. I hope you learn to love the place. I wish the school had kept Green Camp, gone before I attended Cooper. Things do change. It is up to you to change the future and more importantly, to take part in the world around you. Architects are problem solvers. This is the truth. Think clearly and confidently about your future. Be happy for the luck you have found in your Cooper acceptance. Work with your peers diligently. You will be learning for the rest of your lives, thankfully. Keep intentions clear, live and work hard, be happy. All regards and wishes for good luck to each of you. 


I come from a small town in NJ. Like many of you, I was known as the best artist in my high school. Well imagine my shock on the first day of classes at CU, seeing all the other students with these big metal rulers and t-squares. what are those? And when the first nude model walked in to pose in my first drawing class? Why was I the only person uncomfortable? Truth was that most of the freshman students came from NYC high schools specializing in art. It was all second nature to them. After getting over the initial intimidation, I continued to make life-long friendships, grow as an artist, and learn from THE most extraordinary professors (Robert DeNiro, Sr., Wolf Kahn, Paul Resika, etc.). Their influence continues in my own art to this day, 48 years ago. Take it all in. It's not a dream. It's Cooper Union.


Congratulations! You are about to start a life-changing journey—for yourself and for others—at one of the world's most extraordinary educational institutions. We can't wait to see what you all create. We'll be watching (and rooting for you all the way)! 


On your first day of class, you will likely realize that for the first time in your life, you aren’t the smartest kid in the room. You may think “they’re all geniuses, except me”, I know I did. Relax, everyone around you is thinking the same thing. You’ll get through it. My mediocre CU grades still got me into an Ivy League grad school where I was very well prepared. 


  • 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.