Three-Time Alumna Jayne Cohen Supports UCSF Vision

May 2013Fanna Gamal

“What is leadership?” asks Jayne Cohen, BS ’84, MS ’85, PhD ’89.

For Cohen – who since 2001 has been director of what is now the Valley Foundation School of Nursing at San Jose State University – leadership is both an innate quality and the result of superb training and education.

UCSF School of Nursing enhanced and harnessed my leadership skills,” she says. “I watched people in those roles and used them as role models.” She describes her current position as a perfect fit for her and attributes her preparedness to her time at UCSF. “I felt qualified with the frosting that UCSF put on my education,” she says.

The mentorship of locally, nationally and internationally renowned faculty is another element of what so impressed Cohen. “Across all programs, they were leaders in scholarship and teaching,” she says and notes that their support was instrumental both in her earning her degrees and along her impressive career arc.

“I stayed at UCSF for 7 years and was hired right out of school, on a tenure track,” she notes.

Giving Back

Having achieved so many of her long-term goals – and deeply grateful for the School’s help in the process – Cohen remains a loyal donor to the UCSF School of Nursing Annual Fund. She says she is committed to enhancing the mission and identity of the School, and is constantly seeking new ways to support UCSF.

“It’s really clear for me,” she explains. “I feel committed to give back, because no amount of money in the world would repay what I’ve gotten from UCSF. I’ve been giving almost every single year since I graduated.”

In addition, while constructing her trust, she couldn’t imagine leaving UCSF out of her legacy and has decided to make a bequest to the school – with plans to increase it. In choosing to donate her money to the dean’s discretionary fund, Cohen puts her faith in the visionaries behind the School. She doesn’t want to tie the hands of program leaders with her gift. Instead, she wants to allow them to be leaders.

“I have confidence that UCSF will always pick a good leader,” she says. “I want to reward people who have the vision, and UCSF is a visionary place.”