Wangechi Mutu

BFA '97

The Cooper I know has a unique morality, an ethical way of functioning. The institution is direct and transparent. I support Cooper because the school speaks to my heart.

Wangechi Mutu

Born in Nairobi, Kenya, Wangechi Mutu is a visionary artist whose work has been exhibited by the world's leading contemporary art institutions, including the Tate Modern and Centre Pompidou.  In 2010, she was honored as Deutsche Bank's first Artist of the Year and awarded a solo show at the Deutsche Guggenheim.  As a young artist, Ms. Mutu was drawn to Cooper's thoughtful approach, challenging curriculum and inspiring faculty. "The experience of learning at Cooper was rich and compelling," she says. "Our work in the classroom was relevant on a global scale." Ms. Mutu recalls being challenged to consider the social, geo-political and historical issues that shape art and culture.  This approach continues to influence her work, which explores the complex intersection of politics, history, culture and identity.Over the years, Wangechi Mutu has donated to several initiatives at Cooper, including the Alumni Roof Terrace Campaign.  She explains why she is passionate about being involved: "The Cooper I know has a unique morality, an ethical way of functioning. The institution is direct and transparent. I support Cooper because the school speaks to my heart."

  • 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.