The Cooper Union

12th President, 2011-2015

News Media

Please reload


Please reload

Cooper Union is an extraordinary insitution founded in 1859 by Peter Cooper, a self-made entrepreneur, philanthropist and visionary. He mandated that working class students should attend tuition-free, and that the highest possible standards of excellence be maintained.


Within three months of assuming the Presidency of Cooper Union in 2011, Jamshed Bharucha uncovered a financial disaster, including an annual burn rate of 20%-30% of the budget continuously since 1991, with only three years remaining until insolvency. He confronted an impending catastrophe that had been ignored for a quarter century and that threatened closure.


Searching for answers in the institution's history, he learned - contrary to the widespread narrative - that Peter Cooper had charged tuition to those who could afford it, so that the working classes could attend free. He worked with the Board to put in place a Financial Sustainability Plan: 50%-discounted tuition for all undergraduates, making Cooper Union half as expensive as other private schools for middle and upper income families; free tuition and enhanced assistance for living expenses for students who are Pell-eligible (below the median income); and innovative new academic programs that would reduce the per-student cost and energize the institution during this transition. Insolvency was averted, academic excellence was maintained (engineering applications increased 66%!) and - true to Peter Cooper's commitment to the poor - the proportion of students from families below median income soared from 16% to 25%.

Elie Wiesel at Cooper Union

Elie Wiesel (seated) following an event in the Great Hall. Cooper student Devora Najaar ChE'15 is second from left. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is on the right, with President Bharucha to his right.