2021 Founder's Day Alumni Awardees

POSTED ON: February 10, 2021

Image: Stephen P. Welby ChE'87

Image: Stephen P. Welby ChE'87



Gano Dunn Awardee: Stephen P. Welby, ChE'87

Peter Cooper Public Service Awardee: Jennifer Fenton Weishaupt ChE'95

2021 Young Alumna of the Year Awardee: Anna Brook, BSE'04


Stephen P. Welby, ChE’87 was selected for the Gano Dunn Award for this year’s 2021 Cooper Union Alumni Association (CUAA) Founder’s Day Awards Ceremony.

Stephen Welby is the Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. IEEE and its members inspire a global community to innovate for a better tomorrow with more than 423,000 members in over 160 countries, and through its highly cited publications, conferences, technology standards, and professional and educational activities. IEEE is the trusted “voice” for engineering, computing, and technology around the globe.

Prior to joining IEEE, in 2015 Stephen was nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the US Senate as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering.  In this role, he served as the chief technology officer for the U.S. Department of Defense, leading one of the largest and most complex research, development, and engineering organizations in the world. As ASD(R&E), Mr. Welby was responsible for the Department’s strategies and supporting plans to develop and leverage the technologies needed to protect U.S. national security. He oversaw matters ranging from investments in basic science and capability prototyping to research and engineering at the Department’s laboratories, promoted coordination and cooperation across the DoD and with other federal and non-federal agencies and organizations, and ensured technical exchange with allied and friendly nations.  He oversaw a $12.5B annual investment portfolio, managed internal and collaborative research and engineering efforts, drove a culture that valued innovation, and supported the department’s global technical engagement.

Prior to this role, Mr. Welby had been appointed by the President to serve as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Systems Engineering, developing policy for and overseeing the efforts of the world’s largest engineering workforce. Mr. Welby was the department’s senior engineer for all non-construction development efforts, overseeing design reviews for major investments in aviation, space systems, surface vessels and submarines, land vehicles, communications systems, major software developments.

Stephen has more than three decades of government and industrial experience in technology and product development, including senior leadership positions at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).  His technical experience at DARPA includes development of leading edge aeronautical and space systems, robotics, machine learning systems, high-performance software, and novel sensor systems. Among other efforts, Mr. Welby led teams supporting autonomous air and land vehicles (including support for the DARPA grand challenge self-driving vehicle prize competitions), supported the NASA-DoD Orbital Express On-Orbit Servicing demonstration mission and oversaw the efforts that led to the first successful US commercial orbital space launch (the SpaceX Falcon One).

Stephen holds a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, a master’s degree in business administration from the Texas A&M University, a master’s degree in computer science from The Johns Hopkins University and a master’s degree in applied mathematics from The Johns Hopkins University.

Mr. Welby is the recipient of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service (the highest award that is presented by the US Secretary of Defense to a private citizen), the Secretary of Defense Exceptional Public Service Award, the Secretary of Defense Exceptional Civilian Service Award, the Department of the Army Achievement Medal for Civilian Service and NDIA Lieutenant General Thomas Ferguson Jr Award for Individual Excellence in Systems Engineering.

The Gano Dunn Award for professional achievement in engineering, industry, science or finance is presented annually to a graduate of The Albert Nerken School of Engineering. Established in 1955, the award is named for Gano Dunn, who devoted a quarter century of service to The Cooper Union as a Trustee, as Chairman of the Board of Trustees and 15 years as President of The Cooper Union. He was an Electrical Engineer who received one of the first degrees in electrical engineering granted in the United States. He got that degree from Columbia University in 1889. He served as President of J.G. White Engineering Corporation. He directed construction projects around the world including the US Oil Base at Pearl Harbor and the rebuilding of Haiti following a massive earthquake. He is the recipient of both the Edison Medal and the Hoover Medal for his achievements in Engineering. Read Gano Dunn’s biography here.


Jennifer Fenton Weishaupt, ChE’95 was selected for the Peter Cooper Public Service Award for this year’s 2021 Cooper Union Alumni Association (CUAA) Founder’s Day Awards Ceremony.

Jennifer Weishaupt brings what might seem like unexpected experience to her role as CEO of Ruby Slipper Restaurant Group.  A chemical engineer, Jennifer “retired” from Shell Oil Company in 2015 with 16 years of service, most recently as Operations Manager for three oil & gas production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.  As Co-Founders of Ruby Slipper, she and her husband Erich brought their engineering systems mindset & management skills to grow the business from a single small neighborhood café in 2008 into an award-winning 18-unit restaurant group, now spanning five (5) states and two (2) sister brands (Ruby Slipper Café and Ruby Sunshine).  As CEO, Jennifer oversees all aspects of restaurant operations, culture and future growth for the brands.

Jennifer stays engaged in her community where she recently completed a term of service on the Board of Directors of Liberty’s Kitchen and previously served on the Board of Directors of Morris Jeff Community School.  Aside from her personal list of philanthropic endeavors and awards, Jennifer and Erich founded the Weishaupt Family Foundation in 2019 and the Lagniappe Krewe Emergency Relief Fund in 2020.  They ensure that Ruby Slipper Restaurant Group stays committed to community involvement through fundraising events and support of local non-profits and businesses.

Awards & Accolades

- Nation’s Restaurant News Most Influential CEOs Reader’s Pick 2020

- Biz New Orleans Business People of the Year 2019

- Angel’s Place Guardian Angel Award 2019

- Festigals Hats Off Award 2019

- Gambit & POWER Women in Small Business Honoree 2019

- Nation’s Restaurant News Most Influential CEOs Reader’s Pick 2019

- Forbes InnerCity 100 2016, 2017 & 2018

- Nation’s Restaurant News Breakout Brands 2017

- New Orleans’ City Business Movers & Shakers Award 2016

- Downtown Development District Best Facade Renovation 2014

- Gambit Weekly’s 40 under Forty 2008

The Peter Cooper Public Service Award is presented annually to a graduate of The Cooper Union who best exemplifies Peter Cooper’s life of service to the public. This award was established in 2014.


Anna Brook, BSE’04 was selected for the Young Alumna of the Year Award for this year’s 2021 Cooper Union Alumni Association (CUAA) Founder’s Day Awards Ceremony.

Anna Brook graduated from Cooper Union in 2004 with a BSE degree. She earned a JD degree from Harvard Law School in 2007. While in law school, Anna appreciated that thanks to Cooper Union she was in the enviable position of having no undergraduate debt.

Anna has been involved in giving back to The Cooper Union and increasing alumni involvement. Anna spearheaded the creation of the Cooper Union Alumni in Law affinity group. She is the current Secretary of the Cooper Union Alumni Association and a member of the Annual Fund Committee. Anna regularly served as an evaluator for Cooper Union’s Invention Factory and has spoken to students about careers in law.

Anna is an attorney focused on patent litigation and counseling. She is a partner in the intellectual property group at the law firm Culhane Meadows. Prior to that, she worked in the New York office of an international law firm for 12 years. Anna represented pharmaceutical companies in patent litigation relating to some of the world’s top-selling medicines, consumer goods manufacturers in litigation relating to everyday household products, and patent owners in high-stakes corporate transactions.

Anna lives in New Jersey with her husband and four children. Anna hopes that at least one of their kids eventually attends Cooper Union (for free).

The Young Alumnus Award was established in 2003 to recognize recent alumni who have provided exemplary volunteerism and public service to The Cooper Union Alumni Association.

  • 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.