Edward Durbin

EE '48

It’s a way to express gratitude for the value of the contribution the school has made. I couldn’t think of a better way to do it and to help Cooper continue for the next hundreds of years. It is the best way the alumni can insure the ongoing future

Edward Durbin

Ed Durbin, like so many other alumni, had no shot at a top-notch college education unless it was free. Cooper Union, as it had for a century, opened the gates to a young man of talent, brains and ambition.“It was after I graduated that I began to understand what a tremendous gift that education was,” Durbin says. As he moved through the corporate ranks, maturing from yeoman engineer to vice chairman and director of Kaiser Aerospace (a $2.5 billion division of Rockwell Collins), “the value of the Cooper experience and its contribution to my personal success was becoming more and more apparent.” In the course of his work years, he met other Cooper graduates and was repeatedly awestruck by the scope of what the school was doing “for everyone who came in contact with it.” He began to give back. Modestly at first and then, as he could afford it, with greater largesse. First came three specific endowments, The Sylvia Appleman Painting Award in his late wife’s name, the Durbin Faculty Development Grant and the Durbin Scholarship Fund. In recent years, Ed has made multiple leadership gifts to help Cooper Union build 41 Cooper Square. His remarkable generosity is celebrated with the naming of the Joan and Edward Durbin EE '48 Laboratory located on the building’s 7th Floor.  His generosity doesn’t stop there. He has also established a significant future bequest from his estate. “It’s a way to express gratitude for the value of the contribution the school has made,” Durbin says. “I couldn’t think of a better way to do it and to help Cooper continue for the next hundreds of years. It is the best way the alumni can insure the ongoing future.”

  • 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.