COOPERMADE: Wonder Woman

COOPERMADE: Wonder Woman

When Patty Jenkins A'93 was 7 years old, she saw Superman, a blockbuster film of 1978 (with a poster by Cooper alumnus Philip Gips A'57), and at once became fascinated with movies. No surprise that one of the director’s biggest hits to date is Wonder Woman (2017), which made her the first woman to direct a studio-produced superhero movie.

Her path to the Amazon warrior of Themyscira followed a clear, if long, trajectory: after studying art at The Cooper Union (focusing on painting), she worked for years in the television and film industry as a cameraperson. The years on set plus a Master’s degree in directing from the American Film Institute Conservatory gave Jenkins the skills to start making her own movies. From the start, she had a fascination with superheroism: her first film told the story of a klutzy housewife who discovers she’s endowed with a superpower. Next, she wrote and directed her first feature film Monster (2003) starring Charlize Theron, which earned Jenkins great acclaim and the actress an Oscar. The director worked in television before returning to make Wonder Woman, which not only was a commercial success but was hailed by critics as a new take on the superhero genre. Up next? Jenkins will be the first woman to direct a Star Wars feature film; Rogue Squadron is expected in theaters in 2023.


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  • 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.