Photo of Nancy Cohen

Nancy Cohen graduated in 1990 with a master’s degree in public administration that was affiliated with Liberal Arts & Sciences and what was then Architecture and Urban Planning. She is grateful for how it prepared her for a successful career and marvels at the transformation and growth of the program. “The College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs (CUUPA) has undergone a tremendous transformation from two floating graduate programs to a full college with a skyrocketing reputation,” says Cohen.

Her UIC experience and these developments compel her to give back to her alma mater. As Cohen planned her retirement, she realized she could make gifts now to establish the Abraham and Madeline M. Cohen Fund. The fund commemorates her parents, whose social activism influenced her. They were heavily involved in fair housing, civil rights, antiwar and feminist movements in the South Shore of Massachusetts.

Cohen will fully endow the fund with current gifts during her lifetime, and she’s also designated a portion of her tax-deferred annuity to the fund at her demise. The future needs of the college being uncertain, she left the uses of the fund up to the CUPPA dean and the Public Administration department head. The fund will support undergraduate and graduate scholarships, internship stipends, travel to professional conferences, and other needs.

As a student and UIC employee, she observed UIC’s uniquely diverse, urban population. “Many UIC students are living the immigrant, working-class dream that is getting harder and harder to pursue successfully,” Cohen says. “Many alumni working in public service aren’t paid much, yet they are finding a way to give back, because we see the value in CUPPA and the benefits of giving,” she concludes.

UIC is very grateful for Nancy Cohen’s generosity and foresight; and our hope is that her story inspires others to do what they can in support of our great university.


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