Dear friends and Cooper community,
I am pleased to be the first to inform you that after 110 years of providing a tuition-free education for all of its students, the Cooper Union will today reaffirm its dedication to this exemplary tradition of generosity.
Most essential in this time of great difficulty for higher education, as undergraduates are burdened with high unemployment rates and record-breaking student loan debt, the Cooper Union's unprecedented social mission of providing a tuition-free, debt-free education to each student admitted solely on the basis merit will stand fast as a beacon of social justice.
Weighing carefully the suggestions from the Task Force appointed to fixing our deficit, and taking stock of our institution's most cherished values, I have made a decision that is both controversial and necessary.
To preserve free tuition for all admitted students, I am pleased to announce, with generous support from New York University President Sexton, a new partnership with the Polytechnic Institute of NYU.
Beginning in academic year 2015, The Cooper Union will lease its recently completed New Academic Building at 41 Cooper Square to NYU-Poly to ensure $20 million in new revenue annually by 2018, putting our institution on a sustainable path for the future while maintaining reverence for its past.
The 41 Cooper Square building has been, for the community, a reminder of past ill-planning and fiduciary neglect. We have, and must continue, to live within the means provided to us in order to preserve Peter Cooper's innovative social mission. We shall not falter in this regard.
In the coming weeks, I will be appointing a Relocation Task Force comprised of engineering faculty, alumni, students, and industry leaders who will be charged with locating an ideal, alternative site for the Albert N. Nerken School of Engineering and the School of Art studios in one of New York's neighboring boroughs. This bold plan of relocation will not be without contention, so we are launching cooperrelocation.info as an information hub and receptacle for community opinion.
As an administrator, it is my understanding that generosity begets generosity, and so, as a first goodwill gesture to the community, I am also announcing a relocation of my own. The President's Residency at the landmark 21 Stuyvesant St. will be moving to the Cooper Union's academic housing at 29 3rd Avenue. Known as the Stuyvesant-Fish House, No. 21 was built by Petrus Stuyvesant, great-grandson of Peter-Stuyvesant, in 1803, and gifted to the Cooper Union. Per its intended use, No. 21 will be promptly leased to generate further revenue for the preservation of our institution. The New President's Residence at 29 3rd Avenue will place myself, my partner Jessie and our two cocker-spaniels immediately next door to students and St. Mark's Books, further strengthening our close ties to the community.
Peter Cooper's vision was vast, unparalleled, and very much ahead of its time. I am confident the community will rally behind this plan of relocation, just as they have rallied behind the sanctity of Peter Cooper's dream.
The ethos of our institution, that education can and should be as free as air and water, is not embodied within the pediments of our halls, but in the minds of those who walk through and beneath them. I look forward with great alacrity as we embark, together, upon this noble endeavor.