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Eric Cohen Receives Dave and Ruth Cohn Alumni Merit Award

“Rowing taught me hard work for a greater purpose, for a sum that’s bigger than the parts,” says Eric Cohen, ‘82.

Eric is the recipient of the 2016 Cohn Award for outstanding service and support to UW Athletics by a former letter-winner.

The Cohen family bleeds purple and gold. Eric’s parents met on a blind date at a Husky basketball game more than 60 years ago. They raised their family in the neighborhood abutting the UW and Lake Washington, where a young Eric would watch Husky rowers with his dad. His wife Heidi’s grandmother rowed on the UW crew team in 1918. Their daughter, Monica, attends the UW and is a pole vaulter on the UW Track Team.

“I had a strong passion for athletics and wanted to play football, but I was five-foot-four in high school and weighed 85 pounds,” says Eric. “I wanted to compete, and rowing was it.”

Living in the crew house, coxing the Varsity 8 to conference championships and making lifelong friends had such an impact on Eric that he joined The Washington Rowing Board of Stewards in 1995 where he serves as the team historian, wrote a comprehensive history of the program in 2003, and created the program’s original website in 2001. He consulted on the PBS documentary, The Boys of ’36, and the famed book, The Boys in the Boat. Eric and teammate Al Forney founded Husky Crew Gear to raise money for the program, and along with teammate Al Erickson, they ultimately established the Class of ’82 Scholarship Endowment for Rowing.

Eric and Heidi are longtime personal donors as well. Eric credits his teammates — and his wife — for enabling him to devote so much of his time and energy to supporting the program he loves.

“Giving back is almost a requirement after all this program gave me,”Eric says.

Congratulations, Eric. Thank you for all you do for Washington Rowing.