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Records of Cooper Union Commencements, 1860-Present

Cooper Union Commencement Records, 1975-1990

File 1: Commencement 1975 (Commencement speaker: not listed)

Cooper Union Press Release "Cooper Union to Award Degrees to 55 Alumni," 1975, 2 pages describing first alumni receiving bachelor's degrees as part of an external degree program inaugurated by Cooper Union and approved by the New York State Education Department.


File 2: Commencement 1976 (Commencement speaker: not listed)

  • Cooper Union Press Release:  “Architect Herman Jessor, Sculptor Dimitri Hadzi (A’50) and Engineer Leo Brancato Honored by Their Alma Mater at The Cooper Union’s 117th Commencement Exercises,” June 7, 1976. 

File 3: Commencement 1977 (Commencement speaker: not listed)

  • Commencement Program, June 1, 1977
  • Cooper Union publication The Gazette Faculty/Staff Newsletter issued by the Public Information Office, Vol. IV, no. 5, covering the events of the 118th Commencement
  • Cooper Union Press Release: “226 Will Receive Degrees at the Cooper Union’s 118th Annual Commencement Exercises, June 1, Four Distinguished Alumni Will Receive the College’s Highest Honor” (2 copies) 

NOTE:  1978 Commencement files are missing

File 4: Commencement 1979 – (Commencement speaker: Clarence F. Michalis, Chairman, Board of Trustees)

  • Cooper Union Citation recommendations  (equivalent to an honorary degree) and biographies of George A. Fox, Clarence P. Hornung, Leo J. Brancato, and Michael J. Pittas.

File 5: Commencement 1980 (Commencement speaker: Tom Wolfe, author & journalist)

  • 1 page Brief History of Cooper Union
  • Cooper Union Press Release:  “Tom Wolfe to Speak at the Cooper Union’s 121st Commencement Exercises,” May 20, 1980.
  • Cooper Union Press Release:  “Lee Krasner to Receive the Citation, The Cooper Union’s Highest Honor,” May 20, 1980, 2 copies
  • Cooper Union Press Release:  “Rolf Ohlhausen to Receive the Citation, The Cooper Union’s Highest Honor,” May 22, 1980, 2 copies
  • Cooper Union Press Release:  “Myron Kayton to Receive the Citation, The Cooper Union’s Highest Honor,” May 22, 1980

File 6: Commencement 1981 (Commencement speaker: Robert Hughes, filmmaker and art critic)

  • Typed Commencement Address by Robert Hughes, 5 pages

File 7: Commencement 1982 (Commencement speaker: Dr. Paul MacCready, inventor of the first human and solar powered aircraft)

  • Press clipping (undated, source unknown):  “Designer of Human Powered Airplane to Speak at Commencement”
  • 1982 Alumni Citation scripts to be read before giving recipients Alumni Citation Medal: School of Architecture – John Sheoris, School of Art – R. B. Kitaj, School of Engineering (posthumous citation) – Daniel Maggin.
  • Biography and press clippings on Lisa Suter Taylor, Director of the Cooper Hewitt Museum, possible candidate for Commencement Speaker

File 8: Commencement 1983 (Commencement speaker:  Bill N. Lacy, President of the Cooper Union)

  • Document: “The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, Recommendations Made at the Commencement Review Meeting for the 124th Annual Commencement of May 25, 1983”
  • List of Commencement Prizes in Engineering, April 14, 1983, including names, name of prize and amount awarded.
  •  “Metropolitan Opera Centennial Celebration Schedule” for idea generation for Cooper Union’s 125th Anniversary.

File 9: Commencement 1984 (Commencement speaker: Franklin A. Thomas, Ford Foundation President)

  • Fragment of page four of Ford Foundation document
  • Benediction speech
  • Addresses and phone numbers of Franklin Thomas and graduates
  • “Review of the 125th Annual Commencement Held on May 23, 1984” by Richard Gray Costello, Chief Marshal.
  • List of Alumni Awards to graduating students for service to the school: Architecture – Kathy Dalmask, Engineering – Stephen Verderese, Art – Ellen Ellsberg
  • List of 1984 Commencement Awards: Abraham E. Kazan Award for Urban Design – Peter Lynch, George Ledlie Fund Annual Prize – Anthony Gregor, Peter Bruder Memorial Fund – Margaret Lynne Gilday & Harlan Mark Levien, New York Society of Architects Matthew Del Gaudio Award for Excellence in Total Design – Peter Lynch, AIA Henry Adams Medal & Certificate of Achievement – Peter Lynch, AIAI Henry Adams Certificate of Achievement – Dean Ivan Maltz, Alpha Rho Chi Medal National Social/Professional Fraternity of Architecture – Daniel Richard Hirtler.
  • Biography and press clipping on Commencement speaker Franklin A. Thomas
  • The Gazette: The Faculty/Staff Newsletter for Cooper Union prepared by the
  • Office of Public Information, May 1984, Vol. 16, No. 4 (3 copies)
  • 125th Anniversary Plans for Budget Year: Current Fiscal Year Through June 30, 1984
  • Cooper Union NEWS Release:  “Franklin Thomas to Speak at Cooper Union’s 125th Anniversary Commencement; Five Others to Receive Honorary Degrees,” May 17, 1984
  • Miscellaneous item: 1984 Convocation and Fall Festival schedule

File 10: Commencement 1985 (Commencement speaker: The Honorable Edward I. Koch, Mayor of the City of New York)

  • Commencement Program, May 29th, 1985
  • Cooper Union press release;  “Cooper Union To Give Mayor Edward Koch Honorary Degree and Confer 213 Degrees At Its 126th Commencement,” May 23, 1985”
  • Short history of Cooper Union and list of application deadline dates
  • List of names for graduates, prize awardees, and attendees for Commencement
  • Overview schedule for Commencement and Processional ceremonies
  • Commencement related Correspondence, April 23 - May 29, 1985

File 11: Commencement 1986 – Scripts  (Commencement speaker: Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., author)

  • Script for unknown individual, undated, introducing Peter Jennings, TV newscaster. [found in 1986 file]
  • Script for President Bill Lacy’s remarks at the Fall Assembly, September 9, 1986
  • Script for President Bill Lacy’s introduction of Kurt Vonnegut at the Fall Assembly, September 9, 1986
  • Script for President Bill Lacy for the 127th Annual Commencement, May 28, 1986

File 12: Commencement 1986 – Commencement related files and Correspondence

  • Commencement Program, May 28, 1986 and notes for edits for program
  • Cooper Union Press Release:  “Cooper Union to Confer 213 Degrees at Its 127th Commencement,” May 20, 1986, 2 copies
  • Cooper Union 127th Annual Commencement Procedures, May 28, 1986
  • Lists of Commencement Prizes/Awards for the School of Engineering, School of Architecture and Art
  • List for the Cooper Union School of Engineering Dean’s Scholastic Honor List, January 2, 1986
  • List of student ushers for Commencement and Engineering School Commencement Participants
  • List of Cooper Union graduates names, degree and school in May 1986, 24 pages
  • Invoice for printing cost of Commencement Programs, May 30, 1986
  • Seating list with names for Commencement, undated
  • Commencement Processional outline, May 28, 1986
  • Interdepartmental correspondence February 26-May 15, 1986

File 13: Commencement 1986 – Miscellaneous

  • Document pertaining to1986 Fall Assembly, Tuesday, September 9 in the Great Hall, which recognized the contributions of faculty and staff with 20 or 40 years of service; Distinguished Alumni Citations also awarded at this assembly.
  • Cooper Union Press Release:  “Kurt Vonnegut Addresses Cooper Union’s Fall Convocation Ceremony,” September 11, 1986
  • Information on The Roslyn Artists String Quartet, with note of its possible relevance 1987 Commencement

File 14: Commencement 1987 – Scripts (Commencement speaker: Betty Friedan, feminist writer and activist)

  • Cooper Union Bill Lacy’s script and Betty Friedan Citation, May 27, 1987, 3 copies
  • Andrew Peter Anselmo, 1978 Winner of Peter Cooper Commencement Speech Contest (ME’87 and Tau Beta Pi Honor Society) - script, 3 copies

File 15: Commencement 1987 – Commencement Related Papers

  • Commencement Program, May 27th, 1987,  2 copies plus copy of 1986 Program with notes of ideas and changes for the 1987 version
  • Commencement Gazette for the Cooper Union Faculty and Staff, May 27, 1987, Editors: Stuart Dim and Lynn Appelbaum, 11 copies
  • Biography, curriculum vitae  and photographic portrait of Commencement speaker Betty Friedan, 2 copies
  • Cooper Union Press Release:  “Feminist Betty Friedan Is Guest Speaker at Cooper Union’s 128th Commencement,” May 20, 1987, 3 copies
  • Handwritten notes by Lynn D. Appelbaum (Assoc. Director of Public Affairs, Cooper Union) on Betty Friedan’s speech
  • Statistics for total diplomas, for each department
  • Registrar’s Office:  List of School of Art, School of Architecture, and School of Engineering graduates
  • The Cooper Union 128th Annual Commencement Procedures, May 27, 1987, 3 copies
  • Seating plan of Great Hall and order for Processional March 1987
  • List of Commencement Awards, award amounts, and names of recipients
  • List of Honor Society graduate members, fellowships, and ushers for Commencement
  • 128th Commencement Comments by Richard Gray Costello, Chief Marshall, May 27, 1987
  • Cooper Union NEWS press release and article clipping on graduate Christine Lessa receiving marriage proposal in her diploma

File 16: Commencement 1987 - Commencement Correspondence

  • ·       Correspondence, March 27 - July 7, 1987

File 17: Commencement 1987 – Miscellaneous

  • Invoices and totals for Commencement publicity and other expenses
  •  Contract for Betty Friedan to attend Commencement
  • Notes on The Gazette Faculty Staff Newsletter 1977 (Vol. IV, no.5)  and May 1984 (Vol. 16, no.4) with ideas on text for publicity for the 1987 Commencement
  • Various news clippings on Betty Friedan
  • Publicity portfolio for Eroica Brass, musicians

File 18: Commencement 1988 (Commencement speaker: James Dickey, author) – Scripts

  • Cooper Union address: “Implicitness of Design” by James Dickey, 2 copies
  • Peter Jenson (graduating student) Commencement Speech, May 31, 1988
  • Script for Acting President Alan C. Green’s introduction of James Dickey, and basic script for commencement proceedings.

File 19: Commencement 1988 - Commencement Correspondence & Related Papers

  • Commencement Program, June 1st, 1988, 1 copy
  • Correspondence:  undated and April 20 - June 28, 1988
  • 8.5” x 11” black and white photographic portrait of James Dickey
  • Biography of James Dickey
  • Document: “Four Cooper Union Architecture Students Take Top Prizes in 1988 Lyceum Fellowship Competition”
  • Commencement Gazette for the Cooper Union Faculty and Staff,  June 1st, 1988, 3 copies
  • The Cooper Union 129th Annual Commencement Procedures, June 1, 1988, dated May 24, 1988 and a revised version dated May 25, 1988
  • 129th Commencement, June 1, 1988 Comments by Richard Gray Costello, Commencement Director
  • Graduation photo schedule, total degrees conferred for Cooper Union students, platform seating names and order of march
  • Listings of Commencement Award recipients
  • List of graduates by name and school

File 20: Commencement 1988 – Miscellaneous

  • Various Cooper Union correspondence not relating to the 1988 Commencement file, August 31, 1987 - August 11, 1988: 
    Correspondence to and from Stuart Dim, Director of Cooper Union's Public Affairs Office, regarding Cooper Union's telephone directory updates, Public Affairs approvals for permissions to run articles on Cooper Union, ideas for a community billboard, article ideas for At Cooper Union, budgets, film festivals, information on the historic clock on the foundation building, disputes between faculty/staff members, etc.
  • Draft for Cooper Union Commencement Program or Cooper Union Course Catalog
  • Brochure of Cooper Union facts for potential students

File 21: Unrelated Commencement Files– Miscellaneous

Items below were filed in the Commencement Boxes

  • "Cooper Union Reports":  a transcript for a potential article (sent to Cooper Union Public Affairs for fact checking) by Elizabeth McShane, Association of Governing Boards of Universities & Colleges, with dated cover letter October 5, 1987.  McShane’s article covers Peter Cooper's life and his intentions in founding The Cooper Union, and includes images from the Cooper Archives.
  • "Master of Invention," article by Andrew Sullivan from Pursuits: Remarkable People, Uncommon  Endeavors, Summer 1988, v.1, no. 3, p. 60-61.  Covers history of Cooper Union.  File contains 2 copies of entire magazine.
  • Portfolio folder with items relating to the Cooper Hewitt Museum’s 1990 exhibition “Cooper Union Legacy” -  includes four-page document explaining the 1870 initial idea of Eleanor Garnier Hewitt and Sarah Cooper Hewitt for the Museum.

File 22: Commencement 1989 (Commencement speaker: William Stanley Merwin, poet) - Scripts

  • Script for John Jay Iselin’s remarks at the May 31st, 1989 Commencement
  • Kevin Fischer’s Commencement Speech “Doubt vs. Criticism”, 2 copies
  • W. S. Merwin’s Commencement Address, May 31, 1989, 2 copies

File 23: Commencement 1989 – Correspondence & Related Papers

  • Correspondence  February 27 - June 2, 1988
  • 1989 Commencement Program (2 copies)
  • B&W Photographic portrait (5” x 7”) & biography of W.S. Merwin
  • Cooper Union NEWS release:  “Poet W.S. Merwin is Guest Speaker at Cooper Union’s 130th Commencement”,  May 25, 1989 (4 copies)
  • Commencement Gazette for The Cooper Union Faculty and Staff publication, June 1, 1988 (3 copies)
  • Commencement seating plan, list of prizes with Students names, Commencement Procedures

File 24: Commencement 1989 – Miscellaneous

  • Brochure: “Cooper Union at a Glance 1988-89.”
  •  The Cooper Union Annual Report, 1987-1988
  •  Press folder containing publicity information on Cooper Union, photo of John Jay Iselin, Cooper Union Fact sheets and brochures

File 25: Commencement Scripts 1990 (Commencement speaker: Charlayne Hunter-Gault, journalist and Foreign Correspondent for NPR)

  • Script for John Jay Iselin’s remarks at the May 25th, 1990 Commencement
  • Charlayne Hunter-Gault’s Commencement Address, May 25th, 1990 (3 copies, with the name Lynn Appelbaum handwritten).
  • 3 different fragments of John Jay Iselin’s 1990 Commencement speech with various edits
  • Script for R. G. Costello, Commencement Director, February 29, 1990
  • Platform Party Script, May 24, 1990

File 26: Commencement Correspondence 1990

  • Undated and January 10 - June 17, 1990.

File 27:  Commencement 1990 - Miscellaneous

  • Copy of The Cooper Union NEWS release: “Distinguished Journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault, First Black Woman to Integrate University of Georgia, To Be Guest Speaker at Cooper Union’s 131st Commencement, May 14, 1990.”
  • Commencement Catalog, May 25th, 1990 (1 copy)
  • Invitation to 1990 Commencement Day buffet breakfast
  • Tickets for entry to 1990 Commencement
  • Clippings related to the search for 1990 Commencement speakers: Clippings covering Susan Sontag, Walker Percy and Charlayne Hunter-Gault
  • Commencement Gazette for The Cooper Union Faculty and Staff publication (2 copies)
  • New York Times press clipping from May 26, 1990, covering event
  • Biography and list of publications by Susan Sontag
  • Class of 1940 - 50th Reunion Events Week of May 21st
  • 1990 Commencement Schedule and rehearsal plans
  • At Cooper Union, publication, Autumn 1990
  • 1990 Commencement Comments, Tasks, Procedures, Platform Seating & Marching Order
  • B&W photographic portrait (8” x 10”) of Charlayne Hunter-Gault
  • Invitation postcard for The C.U. Annual Student Exhibition, May 24, 1990
  • Booklet “Cooper Union At A Glance 1989-1990”
  • 1988-89 Cooper Union Annual Report
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