The mission of Cooperman College Scholars is to help highly motivated, academically talented, under-represented students thrive in college. We place students in challenging, well-matched environments with solid support systems, and we eliminate the pressures of insufficient financial aid which can negatively affect student retention and graduation.
We know it takes many types of supports to graduate from college. Our program provides a support system for the challenges many students face while pursuing a degree. Even so, we recognize that college costs can be a significant burden for many students and their families. Scholars are selected each year to receive a scholarship plus lots of non-monetary supports. All Cooperman Scholars receive:
The Cooperman College Scholars program is made possible by a grant from the Leon and Toby Cooperman Family Foundation.
Mr. and Mrs. Cooperman both grew up in the South Bronx. The son of Jewish immigrants who fled Poland, Mr. Cooperman was raised with his brother in a tiny, one-bedroom apartment. His father worked as a plumber and died on the job; Mrs. Cooperman’s father sold bed linens.
Mr. Cooperman was the first in his family to go to college, attending Hunter (then called Lehman) College, a City University of New York (CUNY) public institution, where he met his future wife; he studied Chemistry, she History. Mr. Cooperman earned his degree in just three years and entered dental school. Deciding after eight days that it was not the career for him, Mr. Cooperman re-enrolled at CUNY and took 10 economics courses, earning As in every class.
Mr. Cooperman went on to Columbia Business School and from there to Goldman Sachs. Starting out, the young couple faced overwhelming student loan debt (and a negative net worth) while raising a six-month-old son, but Mr. Cooperman, always known for his prodigious work ethic, persevered and founded the asset-management business at Goldman, leaving after 25 years to launch his own hedge fund, Omega Advisors, Inc.
The Coopermans have lived in Essex County for 36 years, raising their two sons there. Mrs. Cooperman is retired from a career in special education at the Early Childhood Learning Center of New Jersey.
They are overjoyed to donate this gift.