MIT's Prof. Muriel Cooper, Services Sunday Noon at MIT Chapel;

- - The original note follows - -

From: [email protected] (Richard D Shyduroff)
Subject: MIT's Prof. Muriel Cooper, Services Sunday Noon at MIT Chapel;
Date: 28 May 1994 20:23:01 GMT

(a personal note on professor cooper follows the obituary notice; it is
hoped that this tragic news will find its way to all of muriel's remotely
located friends and colleagues and former students everywhere. if you
were a student or worked with muriel, but can't be there tomorrow and wish
to send something of a remembrance, please do. <[email protected]>)

>Date: Thu, 26 May 94 22:30:23 -0400
>From: Stephen A. Benton <[email protected]>
>Message-Id: <[email protected]>
>To: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected],
> [email protected], [email protected]
>Subject: More on Professor Cooper
>Cc: [email protected]
>Following is an obituary notice for Prof. Muriel Cooper, which
>will start appearing in newspapers and so forth tomorrow. It
>mentions that services for Prof. Cooper will be held on Sunday,
>May 29, at noontime, in the MIT Chapel. I hope that many of us
>will be there to join her family and the wider community of her
>But Sunday seems a long way away, and I propose that we also meet
>for a few minutes in the lower lobby at 4:00PM Friday afternoon.
>If there is anything you would like to say about Muriel at that
>time, or otherwise share with us, we would all be pleased to
>listen. And we should spend a few moments together in simple
>contemplation of her life and wonderful contributions to our
>lives here.
>...Steve Benton...
>Prof. Muriel R. Cooper of MIT,
>Noted Graphic Designer, Dies at 68
>For immediate release: May 26, 1994
>Contact: Charlie Ball, MIT News Office
>Telephone: (617) 253-1683
>CAMBRIDGE, MA--Professor Muriel R. Cooper of the Massachusetts
>Institute of Technology, a designer, educator and researcher whose
>work has been internationally acknowledged in exhibits and
>publications, died, apparently of a heart attack, on Thursday, May 26
>at the New England Medical Center. Professor Cooper, who lived in
>Brookline, was 68.
>Ms. Cooper, professor of interactive media design in the Program
>in the Media Arts and Sciences at the School of Architecture and
>Planning, cofounded and directed MIT's Visible Language Workshop
>at the Media Laboratory.
>"She was a remarkable woman," said Professor Stephen A. Benton,
>head of the Program in Media Arts and Sciences who has worked
>closely with her over the years. "As a founding member of the
>Media Laboratory, she was a wise counselor in shaping our
>evolution. After 15 years of leadership in graphic design, she
>was just reaching the fullest expression of her computational
>design genius."
>Professor Nicholas P. Negroponte, director of the Media
>Laboratory, said: "We have lost the leader of the most
>revolutionary thought about graphics and computers. All of us at
>the Media Lab and elsewhere, who learned so much from Muriel, are
>now tasked to carry those concepts forward without her, which
>will be very difficult but very likely, given the large number of
>creative minds she spawned in her teaching, her research and her
>very being."
>Ms. Cooper's teaching and research at the Visible Language Workshop,
>focused on how computers can enhance the graphic communication process
>and, inversely, how high-quality graphics can improve computer
>information systems.
>"When you start talking about design in relation to computers,"
>she said in a recent interview, "you're not just talking about
>how information appears on the screen, you're talking about how
>it's designed into the architecture of the machine, and of the
>language. You have different capabilities, different constraints
>and variables than you have in any other medium, and nobody even
>knows what they are yet."
>Ms. Cooper came to MIT in 1952 as director of the Institute's
>newly-formed Office of Publications, now known as Design
>Services. After leaving MIT in 1958 to take a Fulbright
>Scholarship in Milan, she returned to Boston and ran her own
>graphics studio for several years, with the MIT Press among her
>clients. During that time, she designed the world-famous logo for
>the MIT Press.
>In 1967, she joined the MIT Press as its first art director and
>became widely recognized for her innovations in book design. Her
>work in print includes over 500 books, more than 100 of which
>have been awarded recognition in various competitions. Her best
>known book was the Bauhaus volume.
>After seven years at the MIT Press, she started teaching a
>subject at MIT, called Messages & Means, which looked at graphics
>in relation to technology. The course was co-taught with Ronald L
>MacNeil, now a principal research associate in the Media Lab.
>She became an assistant professor in the Department of
>Architecture in 1977, the first graphic designer appointed to the
>faculty. She was promoted to associate professor in 1981 and
>professor in 1988.
>Professor Cooper received a BS degree in education from Ohio
>State University in 1944, and both the BFA in design and BS in
>education from the Massachusetts College of Art, in 1948 and
> In 1992, she was the first recipient of the Robert P. Gersin
>Design Excellence Award given to a graduate of the Massachusetts
>College of Art.
>She is survived by two sisters, Helene Jackson of Boston and New
>York City, and Charlotte Lopoten of Philadelphia, PA.
>A funeral service will be held at the MIT Chapel Sunday, May 29,
>at 12 noon.
>A memorial service will be held at MIT on a date to be announced.

From: [email protected]
To: [email protected]
Cc: [email protected], [email protected]
Subject: Remembering Prof. Muriel Cooper ...
Date: Fri, 27 May 94 10:10:01 EDT

It is with the very greatest sadness that I report to these
lists, and especially to readers who were students of
Professor Muriel Cooper, or knew her through Nancy Gardner,
or any number of Media Lab students, alum and associates also
active in the MIT E-Club and our seminars, or myself, that
Muriel died early yesterday morning of a heart attack.

Those who recall when The Visible Language Workshop was
located two incarnations ago in MIT's Building 5, room 411,
in circa 1979, know that my wife, Nancy Gardner was then one of
Muriel's graduate students, and that though we were both
working in that lab, and we technically met in the Lobby Seven
Elevator, that it was due nearly entirely to Muriel's insights
into our respective persons that she co-designed our getting
together and we've always regarded her as responsible for
our friendship developing into our domestic enterprise.

Though Muriel well-warned Nancy of my various lapses and
history of incompleted projects and tendency toward enjoying
drifting rather than anchoring, she also helped me deal
with a number of personal problems and got me to reconfigure
a lot of my plans simply by asking me to stay at the VLW
where I was at the time working with Professor Ron MacNeil
on the famous Computer Operated Billboard Painting Machine
project ... and she always shared those insights in such an
importantly critical mode, that you had to listen and process
her messages differently than you had learned anywhere else.

So Muriel, Nancy and I will never forget your role in our
lives and your great ability to put people and their ideas
to the test, and if appropriate, to put people together,
ideas which we've used for the past six years as the template
for how we organise and offer the critical review sessions
of the MIT Entrepreneurs Club and the new Undergraduate Seminars
on Entrepreneurship I've been teaching. We honestly owe you
much for your help and support over fifteen years of these
and numerous related educational endeavors. And thanks for
the recent conversations about modelling aspects of our new
Freshman Advisory Seminar on "Social Networking" after ideas
you helped us think through dating back to your "Edges" seminars
of many years ago, using means that you helped develop.

And I agree with Michael Johnson, who was with you when you
took ill Wednesday night at dinner, who yesterday said
words approximating the sense that we'll expect to hear that
you want to make sure of getting your e-mail forwarded.

- richard shyduroff, and for Nancy Gardner '81,
and for Zinky, Sasha, Toby & Marika
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