Columbia’s Generous Donations Bolster School of Engineering's Technological Arsenal

POSTED ON: September 27, 2023

Image of the the donated Bridgeport Milling Machines.

Image of the the donated Bridgeport Milling Machines.

Columbia University's Nevis Laboratories in Irvington, NY, were in the process of shutting down their long-dormant machine shops. This historic facility was once the home of one of the earliest cyclotrons ever built and continues to be a hub for both particle and astrophysics research to this day.

The news of the shop's closure reached The Cooper Union lab technicians Brian Yudin and Estuardo Rodas through a connection with Cooper alumnus Joseph “Joe” Viola ME’16 ME’20, the current Laboratory and Technology Manager in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Columbia. 

Robot arm manufactured by Fanuc.
Robot arm donated in the Spring of 2022.

Earlier this fall semester, Yudin and Rodas, alongside the valuable assistance of Amy Garwood from Nevis Labs and Igor Stiensma from New Amsterdam Metalworks, LLC., successfully rescued and transported several essential fabrication tools to the Cooper campus. Among these tools were three Bridgeport milling machines and three lathes, along with their associated tooling. 

These new tools are in addition to a gift that the Albert Nerken School of Engineering received in Spring 2022. During that time, the School of Engineering was fortunate to receive two robot arms manufactured by Fanuc. This generous donation was championed by Robert Stark ME’80 and Amanda Lombardo ME’19, two distinguished Cooper alumni.

These acquisitions mark a significant enhancement of the School of Engineering’s machining capabilities, fabrication and robotics capabilities, and are poised to make a substantial impact on student projects and advanced research initiatives.

  • 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.