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On Campus Yesterday

A vintage photograph from 1965 of UC benefactor Dolly Cohen presenting an award to UC teacher Jean Winston.


Known for big hats and a big heart, Dolly Cohen was easily recognized in Cincinnati’s social, cultural and philanthropic circles, including those at the University of Cincinnati. Born Dolly Lurie in Pennsylvania, she met her future husband, A.B. Cohen, in the lobby of a Pittsburgh hotel where she was selling anti-tuberculosis stamps for the Red Cross and he was a shoe salesman. The couple married in 1920 and lived in Boston, then moved to Cincinnati in 1926, where their son, Ralph, was born and where A.B. would become president of U.S. Shoe Corp., headquartered here.

At UC, Dolly’s name was most recognized for funding the Mrs. A.B. “Dolly” Cohen Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1961 — two awards that are still given annually. Here, she poses with 1965 A&S winner Jean Winston. Dolly also made assorted UC gifts as needs arose — for instance, sponsoring an essay contest in 1962 and buying an emergency ambulance for the UC Student Health Service in 1967.

A.B. died in 1970, and cancer took Dolly 10 years later. Nevertheless, the impact of her generosity remains and grows.