2024 Commencement

Class of 2024 throw their caps in the air to celebrateThe Cooper Union’s 164th Commencement was held on Wednesday, May 22, 2024, in the Great Hall. President Laura Sparks welcomed attendees and noted the incredible achievements of this year’s graduates, many of whom began their Cooper journey amid the uncertainty of a global pandemic. Watch the ceremony here.

Cerena Parkinson, a graduating senior in the School of Art, was selected to deliver the student commencement address. In addition to her words of congratulations to her fellow graduates, Parkinson thanked family and friends as well as the entire Cooper community from the library and AACE lab to the buildings and grounds and security teams. She noted that "Behind every project, every show and every invention, there is a family; the ones we have chosen, the ones we have made, and the ones we have found here, and I encourage all of us to continue to pour into this place no matter how far our journeys in life take us. Let us carry Peter Cooper’s legacy of investment in unconventional minds wherever we go."

Kevin Slavin, an entrepreneur, academic, artist, and 1995 graduate of the School of Art known for his work at the intersections of science, technology, and culture, served as commencement speaker and was awarded an honorary doctorate. In his speech, Slavin challenged members of the graduating class to think of themselves not as individuals, but rather as multitudes of unseen influences, connections, and agencies that contribute to shaping their lives. 

Presidential Citations were awarded to Elizabeth Graziolo AR’95, Avery Singer A’10, and Kenneth Bridbord ChE’64. Ron Vogel ChE’01, president of The Cooper Union Alumni Association, drew the ceremony to a close by welcoming the Class of 2024 as the CUAA’s newest members.

Photos by João Enxuto / The Cooper Union

Celebrating Cooper Union's newest alumni

  • 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.