The Starr Foundation

Press Release

February 15, 2007

The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art
Receives $10 Million from The Starr Foundation
Record foundation grant will create C.V. Starr Research Foundation,
in new academic building, create and endow professorship and scholarships

New York, N.Y.The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art today announced it is the recipient of a grant of $10 million from The Starr Foundation. The grant will be used to expand research and innovation at The Cooper Union, establishing the C.V. Starr Research Foundation to sustain the college's long tradition of educating future leaders in engineering. It is the largest single gift from a foundation to the college in its 147-year history.

"Technological innovation is proving to be the key to American competitiveness in our rapidly changing global economy," said Maurice "Hank" Greenberg, chairman of The Starr Foundation. "The Starr Foundation seeks to make a difference in tomorrow's world by supporting The Cooper Union and its pool of exceptionally talented students."

"We are grateful for the enormous generosity of The Starr Foundation," said Dr. George Campbell Jr., president of The Cooper Union. "Tomorrow's discoveries reside in the minds and hands of our gifted young people. The Cooper Union's alumni have always been at the forefront of innovation, from Thomas Edison, inventor of electric light bulb to Stanley Lapidus, inventor of the ThinPrep Pap Test, the most widely used cervical cancer detection method. This grant will enable us to continue along that path, turning out exceptional engineers with a strong liberal education, who will become the innovators of the future."

The Starr grant kicks off the public phase of The Campaign for Cooper Union, a critical institutional fundraising effort that seeks to raise $250 million to support student scholarships, faculty development and academic programs, together with a substantial capital investment in Cooper Union's new state-of-the-art academic building. To date, The Cooper Union has already raised $135 million, through the generosity of its alumni and valued benefactors.

The Starr grant will be divided among a number of projects at The Cooper Union:

  • $6 million toward constructing and equipping the college's new academic building, which will house the C.V. Starr Research Foundation, within the Albert Nerken School of Engineering. The engineering school is ranked among the top three undergraduate engineering schools in the nation. The gift will enable the creation of research facilities as well as provide necessary furnishings for state-of-the-art laboratories.

    This new building, to be New York City's first "green" academic laboratory facility, was designed by 2005 Pritzker Architecture Prize winner Thom Mayne of Morphosis, and will be located at 41 Cooper Square (Third Avenue between 6th and 7th Streets), currently the site of the Hewitt Building. In addition to the Nerken School and the C.V. Starr Research Foundation, the new building will also provide institutional space for the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, the School of Art and the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture. Demolition of the Hewitt Building began in November, with groundbreaking scheduled for the new building in April 2007.

    The newly-created C.V. Starr Research Foundation will support interdisciplinary research at The Cooper Union, including four existing engineering research centers:

    • The Maurice Kanbar Center for Biomedical Engineering—Funded by and named for inventor-entrepreneur Maurice Kanbar, who donated $10 million to The Cooper Union in 2002, the largest contribution by an individual in the college's history. The Center provides a venue for research in biomedicine, including orthopedic biomechanics, medical imaging and minimally invasive surgery.

    • Center for Urban Infrastructure and Systems—Building upon The Cooper Union's historic role in urbanism and social responsibility, the center focuses on transportation, environmental engineering and renewable energy issues, along with an innovative program dedicated to Urban Security and Protective Design.

    • The Center for Signal Processing, Communications and Modeling—Augmenting the school's ongoing work in signal processing, computer engineering, wireless communication, encryption technologies and optical and electro-optical communications, the center is currently exploring advanced image processing, where work is being done in partnership with medical research institutions in New York City such as Cornell University's Weill Medical College in Manhattan.

    • Center for Materials Design and Manufacturing Technology—Engaging in the research of innovative product design and automation, the center will be active in areas of composite materials, fire-resistant and blast-resistant materials, robotics and nano-technology.

  • $2 million will be added to the existing C.V. Starr Scholarship Fund, an endowment established in 2001 by The Starr Foundation as a permanent scholarship fund, providing full-tuition scholarships for students working in the centers on related senior research projects.

  • $2 million will create and endow the C.V. Starr Distinguished Professor of Engineering.

About The Cooper Union
The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art is one of the nation's top ranked private colleges, offering degree programs in art, architecture and engineering. Founded by industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper, the college has provided a full-tuition scholarship, now valued at $30,000 per year, to every accepted student since 1859.

About the Starr Foundation
The Starr Foundation was established in 1955 by Cornelius Vander Starr, an insurance entrepreneur who founded C.V. Starr & Co. and other companies around the world. Mr. Starr, a pioneer of globalization, set up his first insurance venture in Shanghai in 1919. He died in 1968 at the age of 76, leaving his estate to the Foundation. The Starr Foundation, with assets today of approximately $3 billion, has donated more than $2 billion since its founding—more than $1 billion in New York City alone—making it one of the largest private foundations in the United States. The Foundation supports education, medicine and healthcare, culture, human needs, public policy and the environment.

Cooper Union Pres Releases 2/17/07.