Bill and Dorothy Cohen have pledged $2.5 million to Wichita State’s Cohen Honors College, the university announced Thursday. The donation will support scholarships for underrepresented and first-generation students, with the goal of “increasing diversity at WSU and within the Honors College.”
The $2.5 million pledge comes three years after the Cohens donated $5 million to help the honors college “deliver a rigorous educational experience for highly ambitious students,” according to a news release. At that time, the college — housed in a section of Shocker Hall residence hall — was only about a year old, with around 200 students. It now includes about 600 students across more than 90 different majors.
The Cohens have supported WSU for more than three decades, the news release said. Bill Cohen is the former chairman and CEO of IMA Financial Group, and serves on the WSU Foundation’s National Advisory Council. Dorothy Cohen has worked for the Wichita Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, Private Jet Expeditions, and Consolidated Holdings. She also worked in the public relations division of Koch Industries for nearly 20 years.
The Cohens said in a statement that their gift “recognizes the Honors College for exceeding our goals and demonstrating a fierce commitment to students.”
“Our confidence in the program grows each time we meet with students and faculty who believe as strongly as we do that an educated citizenry will elevate society and improve our communities.”
Honors College Dean Kimberly Engber said in a statement that the Cohens have given the Honors College the resources necessary to meet the needs of challenge-seeking students and faculty looking to experiment with course design or incorporate research or applied learning experiences into their teaching.
“Their philanthropy and vision is creating opportunities for students throughout their college career and positioning them not only for success after graduation but also for leadership in their communities.”