Roosevelt University receives $25M donation, its largest ever

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Roosevelt University announced Monday that it has received a $25 million donation, the largest in the school’s 71-year history.

The bequest is from the estate of Rosaline Cohn of Chicago, who died in 2010 at the age of 97; and the estate of her daughter, Marcia Cohn, who died last year, according to a statement from the university.

“This magnificent gift will be used to support student scholarships, in accordance with Mrs. Rosaline Cohn’s wishes,” university president Ali Malekzadeh said in the statement. “Mrs. Cohn believed in the transformative nature of higher education. She was a long-time friend and supporter of Roosevelt University, and for several decades has helped Roosevelt students through the Jacob and Rosaline Cohn Scholarship Fund.”

The university will be able to use about $1.2 million each year for scholarships.

Cohn’s late husband, Jacob, was a 19-year-old immigrant when he began selling and delivering fresh coffee to restaurants by horse and buggy in 1915, according to Roosevelt. By the late 1930s, he had built a successful business called Continental Coffee Company.

His sons expanded the firm to include grocery products and frozen foods after their father’s death, and the firm was renamed CFS Continental when it went public in 1970. Fourteen years later, it was sold to A.E. Staley for $353 million.

Jacob Cohn was one of the first contributors to Roosevelt University, according to the school. In December 1945, three months after the college opened, he donated $200, then made annual gifts.

The largest donation to Roosevelt had been $5 million in 2002 from alumnus Florence Miner for the computer science program.

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Roosevelt University receives $25M donation, its largest ever

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