Cooper Union is a private college in the East Village, located at Cooper Square and Astor Place. It was founded in 1859, establishing a radical new model of American higher education. Its mission reflects founder Peter Cooper's fundamental belief that an education "equal to the best" should be accessible to those who qualify, independent of their race, religion, sex, wealth or social status.
On February 27, 1860, in the Great Hall of Cooper Union, Abraham Lincoln delivered his “right makes might” address, which is credited with winning for him the nomination to the Presidency of the United States. In addition to Lincoln’s famous speech it has played host to hundreds of other notable political leaders, including Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony, and Samuel Gompers. Also, on December 2, 1964, the Great Hall was the meeting place for the second-ever public demonstration for gay rights in the US. Read more about Randy Wicker and Craig Rodwell's picket here. It is also the birthplace of the American Red Cross and the NAACP.
The college is divided into three schools– the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture, the School of Art, and the Albert Nerken School of Engineering—and offers internationally-accredited undergraduate and Master's degree programs exclusively in the fields of architecture, fine arts, and engineering. Cooper Union is considered to be one of the most prestigious colleges in the United States, with all three of its member schools consistently ranked among the highest in the country.