Joyce Cowin Funds Hunter College’s Russian Programs
In Russian there is an expression, “podarok blagodarnasti,” that translates to a “gift of thanks.” No one exemplifies this saying like Joyce Cowin, whose philanthropic donations dot the streets of New York like stars in the night sky, and who has provided funding in honor of her late mother to augment Hunter’s Russian Language and Literature Program with dedicated space and additional resources. Hunter offers the largest undergraduate program in the Russian language and literature in the entire CUNY system. Ms. Cowin and President Jennifer Raab inaugurated two new student resource areas to assist students and faculty in their studies and research.
Ms. Cowin’s mother, Sylvia Berger, was a lawyer and trailblazer for women in the field of law. She provided pro bono services for two decades. Her love of learning continued throughout her life. After retiring, Ms. Berger studied Russian at Hunter College for two decades. She read all the great classics in the original language. Ms. Berger, even in her 90s, even after a lifetime of service, showed great dedication to the pursuit of knowledge. She was mentored by Professor Alex Alexander, who lead Hunter’s Russian and Slavic Languages program during the twenty years Ms. Berger attended classes.
“Hunter College’s classes were a paradise for her,” Ms. Cowin said of her mother. “Because of Dr. Alexander and all his cohorts, my mother thrived during the last two decades of her life. Hunter was a lifesaver just as valuable as penicillin. I am grateful for the excellent Russian programs that exist here.” #