Published on November 26th, 2018 | by drkkr



In my recent journey as a FulBright scholar to the United States made me to understand the Higher Education system in United States. Witnessed some of the Best Practices, Challenges , Uniqueness which made a difference at the International higher education space:

The first is a very unique Institution in United States. An institution whose vision has left a deep impact on me. Inclusivity and Diversity is their hallmark.

159 years ago an inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper established the first tuition free university named Cooper Union to allow the poor, women and minorities to receive education in #NYC in 1859, 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’s dream was to give talented young people the one privilege he lacked: a good education from an institution which was open and free to all. He felt that this would make possible the development of talent that otherwise might have gone undiscovered.

To achieve these goals, Cooper designated the majority of his wealth, primarily in the form of real estate holdings, to the creation and funding of The Cooper Union .

“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.”

Cooper Union is 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.


I had Goose bumps when i walked in to this hall to listen to the history of the place. The Great Hall of The Cooper Union has stood for more than a century as a bastion of free speech and a witness to the flow of American History and ideas. When the hall opened in 1858, more than a year in advance of the completion of the institution, it quickly became a mecca for all interested in serious discussion and debate of the vital issues of the day.

The Great Hall was the platform for some of the earliest workers’ rights campaigns and for the birth of the NAACP, the women’s suffrage movement and the American Red Cross. To the Great Hall’s lectern has come a pageant of famous Americans — rebels and reformers, poets and presidents. Before they were elected, Presidents Lincoln, Grant, Cleveland, Taft, and Theodore Roosevelt and Barack Obama all spoke there. Barack Obama also spoke in the Great Hall to as president, as did Woodrow Wilson and William Jefferson Clinton. On May 12, 1993, Clinton delivered a major economic address on reducing the federal deficit. And, during the past century’s times of tremendous upheaval, it was through meetings in Cooper’s famous auditorium that the politics and legislation necessary to build a humane city took shape.


I had the opportunity to meet the current president of The Cooper Union.

Laura Sparks became president of The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art on January 4, 2017. She is the thirteenth president of the institution, and the first woman in the role. Laura is focused on improving the school’s financial outlook, building collaborative efforts across the community, ensuring that the school continues to provide students with an outstanding educational experience, and positioning the school for continued excellence in the decades ahead. i strongly believe the astute leadership and energy Laura Sparks brings to the iconic legacy of the cooper union is of significant importance.

Let us be part of the Legacy :

The Cooper Union has flourished for more than 150 years, still true to its founder’s enlightened vision, because of the generosity of countless individuals who have shared his view of education as the bedrock of a prosperous and democratic society. Today, The Cooper Union depends upon your support to educate, in Cooper’s words, “soaring minds” who will “secure the greatest good to the greatest number of youth in our city, our country, and the world.” Will you be part of this legacy?

Your support gives the spirit of Peter Cooper to a new generation eager for a chance at an unparalleled education in art, architecture and engineering: hallmarks of The Cooper Union.

Never knew that there existed an educational institution with a vision to serve the world with no tuition fees. Sharing this to make sure that those who are exceptionally good but can’t afford it can apply to The Cooper Union and those who have the mind to contribute and make a difference can look at the institution and do their bit for this legacy and vision to serve generations to come. Thank You FulBright, USIEF, IIE and the Department of State for this learning and experience.

But when we left the question that was lingering on my head was :

Is the name Cooper Union , how good is that name for an University or an Educational Institution in the current scenario, if you have your thoughts, share it .


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