SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — Western New England University received a one million dollar gift Monday from the estate of the late Frances Cohen, marking one of the largest gifts ever bestowed upon the University.
Norman Cohen, Frances’ late husband, was a graduate of the Springfield Division of Northeastern College, the predecessor of WNEU.
The Cohen’s founded and built Norco Appliance Distributors from the ground up and it became the largest wholesale appliance business in the area.
After selling their business and the passing of Norman, Frances Cohen became a benefactor of the University as well as a keen observer of the stock market.
It was important to the University that the gift go toward something that represents the Cohen’s legacy. It was decided that Western New England would create the Frances and Norman Cohen Trading Room and Financial Center, which will bring the activity of the financial markets to the classroom.
Something Dean Julie Siciliano has been hoping for for years.
“All of our business students will have classes in there and they will actually be using the portfolio investment simulation that is part of the trading room so they’re getting that practice as well. It just makes them so much more prepared when they are going out for their jobs and their job interviews,” Siciliano said.
Monday’s gift doesn’t stop there.
This million dollar gift will finance three different things at WNEU.
First, the Frances and Norman Cohen Trading Room and Financial Center, including the Bloomberg terminal and software. Then there’s a $100,000 student managed investment fund which will allow students a real life look at investing in the stock market under the advisement of faculty and an alumni advisory board. The final component will be six scholarships awarded to juniors and seniors based on merit.
Dean Siciliano says that this gift will also be to the advantage of graduates of WNEU’s College of Business. The new hands on approach to the curriculum will enable WNEU students to gain real world experience which they can list on their resumes and speak to in job interviews.
WNEU also plans to use the new trading room in community outreach programs with local high schools. Construction on the Frances and Norman Cohen Trading Room and Financial Center is due to be complete by this fall.