An official Path Through History Site! Founded in 1859, the school established a new model for American education, reflecting founder Peter Cooper`s belief that an education should be accessible to those who qualify independent of their race, religion, sex, wealth or social status. The college has hosted many prominent speakers, including Presidents Lincoln, Grant, Cleveland, Taft, and Theodore Roosevelt. Lincoln gave his "Right Makes Right" speech in the Great Hall. Cooper Union offers lectures and exhibitions that are open to the public throughout the year.