Dedicating the Cowin Center and Honoring Its Benefactor | Teachers College Columbia University

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Dedicating the Cowin Center and Honoring Its Benefactor

At Academic Festival, a tribute to Joyce Berger Cowin
Since opening three years ago, TC’s Cowin Conference Center has been the scene of the Fall 2008 debate between the education advisors of Presidential candidates Obama and McCain; an address to the Children’s Aid Society by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan; the nation’s first research symposium on the use of federal education stimulus funds at the state level; a national education summit held by the National Conference of State Legislatures and many other high-profile events.
At Academic Festival, President Susan Furhman led the formal dedication of the Center, honoring longtime TC Trustee Joyce Berger Cowin, who funded its creation. Cowin, a former Alumni Council member, also helped launch the Heritage School, an arts-themed high school in East Harlem that was created a decade ago by TC faculty member Judith Burton.
“Joyce does incredible work for many institutions around the city, but she has truly given her heart to TC over the years, and we want to let her know today how much that’s meant to us,” said Fuhrman.
Fuhrman then showed a video of testimonials from Cowin’s family and friends—including the financier and philanthropist Warren Buffett; TC alumna Laura Parsons, who serves as President of the Board of the American Folk Art Museum, where Cowin is also a trustee; and Cowin’s fellow TC trustees, Ruth Gottesman and Board Co-Chair Jack Hyland. Still another admirer sent written tribute.
“For the past 30 years, Teachers College, Columbia University has benefited from Mrs. Cowin’s consummate talent and professionalism,” wrote New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, in a special message that was read aloud by Hyland. “From her founding of the Heritage School to her work as a Trustee on multiple boards, Mrs. Cowin has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to improving the lives of young people. I am delighted to join her friends, family and colleagues in applauding her exemplary service.”
A beaming Cowin then thanked the TC community and recounted the long road to creating the Cowin Center. The process began 13 years ago and was interrupted at several points, including, in one instance, by an inability to drill through solid rock at another site near campus.
“But love conquers all,” she said, to loud applause. “And for the calendar year, the auditorium has been booked for 146 days, and we are really just getting started. With joy and hope, it will be used even more frequently to discuss how best to educate our children and to create a better and safer world for all of us.”
To view the Cowin Tribute video, visit: .

Published Tuesday, Jun. 29, 2010


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