Fred Cooper - His Impact on Purdue and Engineering

Fred Cooper, who grew up in the Chicago area, attended Purdue University between 1970 and December 1974 on a full football scholarship. He was a 3-year starter for the Boilermakers and was elected defensive captain his senior year. He graduated in December 1974 with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering. 

Cooper left his mark at Purdue, and also nationwide, when he and Edward Barnett approached the Dean of Engineering, in 1971, with ideas to found the Society of Black Engineers (SBE), which later became known as the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). Cooper served as the President of SBE for 2 years between 1972 and 1974.

After graduating from Purdue, Cooper was drafted by the Detroit Lions and played professional football for 2 years. After his football career was over, Cooper began his corporate career at Bell System in Chicago. During his 25-year tenure he held various functional positions throughout the company including positions in engineering, product marketing, project management, manufacturing planning, technical sales support, international market development, and product management. He also had P&L responsibility for Lucent Technologies’ $100M base station software development business. Currently, Cooper is working for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices as a Commercial Real Estate Consultant where he helps clients meet their ROI objectives by investing in commercial real estate. His areas of expertise are sales and buyer representation, as well as landlord and tenant representation. His services are focused on the multi-family, office, retail, and industrial asset classes.

He has left a legacy here at Purdue that has impacted thousands of engineering students. Cooper’s leadership in the creation and founding of the SBE have left a nationwide impact. He also is an example of hard work and success to other students after majoring in engineering while starting for the football team and still being involved in other organizations. His impact on Purdue and engineering will not soon be forgotten.

Fred currently resides in Hillsborough, New Jersey, in the New York City metro area. He is of the lineage of Delores Cooper Shockley, the first African-American to receive a PhD in Pharmacology from Purdue and in the United States.

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