Cynthia Hadzi

We had discussed a gift before he died – it wasn’t just my idea. I believe that his amazing spirit of working really came from those years at Cooper, and we felt that a gift would be a wonderful way to keep his memory alive.

Cynthia Hadzi

I know how much Cooper Union meant to my late husband Dimitri (A’50).  Although he had studied chemistry at Brooklyn Tech, it was after he returned from the Pacific during WWII, that he became interested in being an artist.  After his tour of duty was over, he returned to his old job in the chemistry lab in New York City.  They were re-organizing at the time, and suggested he take a break.  At this time he took painting classes at the YHMA.  The instructor recognized his talent, and since there was little money at that time, he helped by seeing he had all the extra paints and canvasses needed.  Friends he made there were taking the exams for admission to Cooper Union - he thought that was a good idea and went along too.  He was the only one to be accepted!  He always said that the teachers he had at Cooper were inspirational.  Art became his life, and this would never have been the case if it hadn’t been for those special student years.  At the end of his program, he applied for and received a Fulbright Fellowship to study sculpture in Greece.  After a year in Athens, the GI Bill was inaugurated, offering free schooling.  Since Cooper had been free, he was eligible, so he moved to Rome where he went to school.  It was after living 25 years in Rome, working in his studio, showing work around Europe and the U.S., doing large commissions that he was invited by Harvard to teach sculpture and was offered the position of Professor of Visual Studies.  However he was always very proud of being a student at Cooper Union, especially so after being recognized by the St. Gaudens Award in 1989.  We had discussed a gift before he died – it wasn’t just my idea.  I believe that his amazing spirit of working really came from those years at Cooper, and we felt that a gift would be a wonderful way to keep his memory alive.

  • 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.

  • “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.”

  • 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.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.