More than 100 of the College's steadfast supporters, TC Trustees and friends gathered for a joyous afternoon on June 11 for the College's Annual Grace Dodge Society Luncheon, which included a special tribute to Joyce Berger Cowin (M.A. ’52), Trustee Emerita, for her decades of visionary leadership, support and service to the College. 

Overlooking Columbus Circle at Ascent Lounge, Grace Dodge Society members sat among students and faculty who are driving innovative research and practice.

The Society bears the name of Teachers College founder, Grace Hoadley Dodge — a “stellar example of leadership and service,” in the words of her great-nephew, William Dodge Rueckert, Chair Emeritus of the Board and Chair of the Society. Grace Dodge Society members plan to support TC through their wills, trusts or other planned gifts. 

Grace Hoadley Dodge “supported generations of TC students in their desire to better serve the world around them. We are grateful to those of you who have followed in her footsteps by establishing gift plans which support the TC community,” Rueckert said to welcome guests, before recognizing the afternoon’s guest of honor, Joyce Berger Cowin (M.A. ’52). “Thank you for your decades of service to Teachers College and the TC community and for being one of the society’s charter members.” 

Vision and passion are central to the work of Cowin, whose  generosity follows a long history of service to the College since she earned her master’s in Curriculum and Teaching from TC in 1952. A former teacher and a member of the TC Board since 1980, Cowin has “strengthened the College through her considerable contributions of time and talent,” the Committee on Trustees wrote in their resolution conferring her new title of Trustee Emerita on May 30th. 

Nelson introduced a video tribute featuring TC Board colleagues, alumni, friends and family recounting the myriad ways Cowin has impacted our community. Standing to address Grace Dodge Society members and friends after looking back at her journey, Cowin shared: “I’m thrilled and appreciative and I thank every single one of you.” 

“Your enthusiasm for TC and your role on the Board was an example we should all emulate,” Board Chair Leslie Morse Nelson said of Cowin in her remarks during the video tribute, noting the alumna’s boundless humor and grace throughout her service. “We are all filled with gratitude for the many ways that you have made Teachers College a better place.”

Over the span of more than forty years on the Board, Cowin has contributed strategic vision, leadership and financial support to numerous initiatives, including the Joyce B. Cowin Scholarship; the Joyce Berger Cowin Conference Center; the Heritage School; and the Cowin Financial Literacy Program, which has provided more than 5,000 educators with free professional development to teach personal finance since 2012.

“A treasured friend to Teachers College for many years, Joyce has made a profound impact on generations of TC students, faculty and alumni. With extraordinary compassion and a spirit for innovation, Joyce embodies the fierce commitment to consequential work that defines Teachers College itself,” President Thomas Bailey said of Cowin, surrounded by family and friends from TC and beyond. “We are deeply fortunate to stand alongside her in community, and look forward to a new chapter of her legacy that will last for many years to come.” 

Leadership shared that the next chapter of Cowin’s generous support for College will allow for the creation of the forthcoming Cowin Student Success Hub — a new, state-of-the-art suite that will allow students to enjoy centralized support services across academic success, professional development, health and more. The project builds upon the College’s strategic efforts to advance student pathways from admission to graduation and beyond 120th Street. 

The magnitude and longevity of Trustee Emerita Cowin’s impact is palpable. “Doing anything for 40 years is incredible, but doing it with her level of dedication and commitment is admirable,” said Dana Cowin, Joyce’s daughter. 

That very desire to make a difference binds all who come to TC, but especially the alumni, faculty and friends who become supporters through the Grace Dodge Society.

“As a proud member of the Grace Dodge Society, I know — as you do — how important our support is to the future of the College, to our faculty and to our students,” said former Alumni Council President Marion Boultbee (Ed.D. ’96), who will support international students through her planned gift. “Every gift we can make to TC supports our vibrant community making true change possible in our world.”