Volume 78 - Number 37 / February 18 - 24 2009
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Villager photos by Jefferson Siegel

The Cooper Union Step Team modeled the school’s new six-color logo at the 150th anniversary celebration.

Cooper Union engineers 150th anniversary celebration

By Albert Amateau

The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art celebrated the 150th anniversary of its founding on Feb. 12 when more than 200 alumni, students and faculty members crowded into the plaza south of the Foundation Building on Cooper Square.

President George Campbell Jr. and Ronald W. Drucker, Cooper Union board chairman, paid tribute to the founding industrialist and inventor whose 218th birthday it was and to the school’s founding policy of full-tuition scholarship for every undergraduate student — an education “as free as water and air.”

Campbell unveiled the school’s new six-color logo, designed by Cooper Union alumnus Stephen Doyle.

A walk-through of the new Cooper Union academic building, rising across the street on Third Ave., above, was called off due to extremely windy conditions.

One visitor, John Ross, a printmaker and publisher of art books, recalled that he entered Cooper Union in 1939 and met his wife, also a student there, but didn’t graduate until 1948 after he returned from serving in the Air Force during World War II.

“My son — he’s chairman of the art department at Manhattanville College — went here too,” Ross said.

Standing at the edge of the crowd was Tracy Brown, who came down from Vermont.

“Peter Cooper was my three greats-grandfather on my mother’s side,” he said, noting that he was not an alumnus but was on hand to witness the laying of the wreath at the foot of the Peter Cooper statue by Augustus St. Gaudens.

James Lee, who graduated Cooper Union in 2007 and is an engineer in New Jersey, also made a special trip.

“It was a lot of hard work but we had great students and great professors,” Lee observed.

“They used to say getting in was an achievement and getting out was an accomplishment,” said Charles Cassella, an electrical engineer from Long Island who graduated 40 years ago.

Because the wind was gusting nearly 50 miles per hour last week, a scheduled walk-through of the lobby of Cooper Union’s new academic building nearing completion on the east side of Third Ave. across from the plaza was cancelled.

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