With the current high rate of contagiousness and infection from Omicron, we have made the decision to conduct all January classes remotely and to require, with limited exceptions, all employees without essential on-campus duties during this period to work from home through January 28th.  For more information on Covid-19 and the start of spring semester, please use this link to our Covid Response page.  


The Cooper Union’s 161st Commencement will take place on Wednesday, May 26, 2021 honoring graduates of both the 2020 and 2021 graduating classes!

See the program.

See the Commencement Playlist for:

  • Livestreamed conferring of degrees, starting at 10:00 am
  • Remarks by President Laura Sparks
  • Commencement awards
  • The Commencement Address by Wangechi Mutu A'96

Cooper Union’s Commencement will provide both an in-person and a virtual experience for our graduates and their guests. The events on campus will be live-streamed and a compiled and edited Commencement video will be released in mid-June.  See the schedule for details.

In-Person Event Details

On May 26, graduates will be greeted by President Laura Sparks and Board Chair Malcolm King, walk across the Great Hall stage to be congratulated by their school’s dean, pose for photos, and receive their official diploma. They may then attend a celebration at the Bowery Hotel. These in-person activities will be staggered by school and/or by department based upon your specific academic program. There is no formal in-person program except the walking across the stage.  All speakers and formal remarks will all be recorded and delivered virtually.

Please note that there is no rehearsal this year and there are no physical tickets. Graduates and their two guests will be checked in at Cooper on Wednesday, May 26, 2021 at the designated time on the schedule. To attend the live events you must have RSVP'd and registered your two guests. Attendees will receive a wrist band after testing negative for COVID-19. (See below for more on testing.) The wristband will serve as your ticket.

Anyone participating in any in-person activities (guests or graduates) will be required to wear masks once they enter the Foundation Building and during all indoor activities. Masks will be provided. Graduates may remove their masks once on stage as they receive their diploma.

COVID-19 Testing for In-Person Commencement Activities

Everyone will be required to be tested regardless of whether or not you are vaccinated.
On-Campus PCR Testing
Get a PCR test on campus Monday, May 24th, 8am to 12pm. The results will be used for access to the Great Hall and Bowery on Wednesday. If testing on Monday and the person also wants access to the campus Monday, they will also need to take a rapid test. Rapid tests will be available Monday, but they will not qualify anyone for access to the Great Hall or the Bowery on Wednesday.
On-Campus Rapid Testing
Rapid testing will take place on the day of Commencement, Wednesday, May 26th, 8am to 4pm. Tests taken on Wednesday will give access to the Great Hall and the Bowery Hotel. Graduates and their guests should note the schedule. Anyone who tests positive, and all other members of their immediate party, will not be permitted to participate in the in-person activities in either the Cooper Union Great Hall or at The Bowery Hotel.

If you have not been tested on campus previously, please complete the registration information to expedite on-campus testing. Leave the patient code blank. Be sure to give an email address that you will have with you. Once the information is submitted, you will receive a verification message from no-reply@rrtesting.com

Testing on Your Own
If you prefer, you may get a PCR test at an independent testing site on Sunday, May 23, 2021 and email to covidtesting@cooper.edu. Please put "Commencement" in the subject line. PCR tests are taking up to 48 hours to process so you don’t want to get a PCR test on Monday. The results may not be back in time to email the results. All PCR Tests must be submitted to covidtesting@cooper.edu by no later than 5pm on Tuesday, May 25th

Virtual Commencement Details

For graduates who are not able to attend the in-person, we will offer a number of virtual Commencement options. On Commencement Day (May 26), all on-campus activities will be livestreamed and off-site graduates are encouraged to sign into a virtual space to join in the events of the day. Those joining remotely will be featured on the Great Hall screens and will become part of the overall virtual Commencement video.

Roughly a week after Commencement Day, we will release a full virtual Commencement program video. This program will include remarks from President Sparks, Board of Trustees Chair Malcolm King, and our commencement speaker, artist and alumna Wangechi Mutu A’96. The virtual program will include photos from Commencement Day as well as photos submitted by graduates who are unable to attend the in-person Commencement activities. Instructions for submitting photos will be forthcoming.

If you cannot attend in-person, your diploma will be mailed to the address currently in your student portal (please update this address if it is incorrect!).


  • 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.