Guest lecturers have included Lucia Allais, D. Graham Burnett, Kurt Forster, Ruben Gallo, Adam Maloof, Joan Ockman, Gyan Prakash and others. It is a top-ranked college committed to making education fair and accessible to all, granting every admitted undergraduate student a half-tuition scholarship as well as need-based aid. Cooper Union, in full Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, private institution of higher learning in New York, New York, U.S. [87] The program was introduced in 1994 by Richard Stock of Cooper Union's Chemical Engineering department, and John Osburn, an instructor of drama at New York University, in response to practicing engineers' need for professional presentation skills as well as industry demands for employees capable of accurately and effectively communicating the details of their work to management and third parties. 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. Cooper Union delivered top quality education in engineering, art, and architecture, and did it WITHOUT charging tuition. [97] Concentrations in one or a combination of three areas are offered: theory, history and criticism of architecture, urban studies and technologies. 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. Larger spaces on the upper floors of the Foundation Building are used primarily for interdisciplinary exhibitions with the School of Architecture. The Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, was founded in 1897 as part of Cooper Union by Sarah, Eleanor, and Amy Hewitt, granddaughters of Peter Cooper. The school's reputation, for the first 150 years of its history, was sterling. In addition, the building's design allows for up to 75% natural lighting, further reducing energy costs. Connecting the first four floors of 41 Cooper Square is the linear Grand Staircase, which is used both for transportation and as a recreational space for students. [54], The Great Hall also continues to serve as an important metropolitan art space and has hosted lectures and performances by such key figures as Joseph Campbell, Steve Reich, Salman Rushdie, Ralph Nader, Hamza Yusuf, Richard Stallman, Rudolph Giuliani, Pema Chodron, Michael Bloomberg, Evo Morales, and Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez. [55], In late 2008, the Great Hall was closed to students and outside events for the first major renovation of the hall since 1978. From the start, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony. [91], The Cooper Union Art program is often referred to as "generalist" or "versatile" when compared to other Fine Arts colleges; incoming students do not choose an academic major within the Fine Arts field, but instead are permitted and encouraged to select courses from any of the School of Art's departments. That's right: $0 a year for four years. The Cooper Union's Saturday Program offers eight free studio art courses enrolling over 200 New York City Public High School students. With over half of admitted students enrolling, acceptance by Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art is a prized outcome for many students. Students have up to five years to complete their degree. 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