Founded by industrialist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union has always offered exceptionally talented men and women a tuition-free education through three rigorous programs – in fine art, in architecture and in engineering – without regard to race or religion. A private college with a storied history, TCU's Great Hall was the site of Abraham Lincoln’s famed 1860 “Cooper Union Address.” From its earliest days, TCU has graduated distinguished alumni who went on to pursue successful and distinguished careers in many fields of endeavor. 
The Cooper Union was a financially self-sufficient institution for more than a century and a half. However, the Trustees of the college were forced, in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2007/2008, to begin charging tuition in 2011. Vigorous student, faculty and community opposition was resolved through a court- ordered consent decree in 2015. Early in this process and as part of their diligence, the Trustees retained The Whelan Group to work with them to strengthen their strategic and fiduciary oversight of this great institution.