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Ed Cohen, BS 1975, certainly isn’t afraid of the unknown.
After a decade filling various executive positions at Walgreens, Cohen left the Deerfield-based retail giant in January to become the new executive vice president for pharmacy advocacy at Michael J. Hennessy Associates, the healthcare communications company and publisher of Pharmacy Times.
“The job description was a blank sheet and I was told to create the right thing,” Cohen says.
As the company’s key liaison to stakeholders across the pharmaceutical landscape, including retailers, wholesalers, independent pharmacies, associations, academia and more, Cohen works to fulfill Pharmacy Times’ mission “to bring practical information to the practicing pharmacist.”
“I’m able to interact across the entire continuum to enhance the quality of the content Pharmacy Times provides its readership,” Cohen says.
That includes spotlighting his alma mater.
Recently, Pharmacy Times published a Q&A with College of Pharmacy Dean Jerry Bauman in which the veteran administrator highlighted the academic, research and clinical programs that have elevated UIC among the nation’s elite.
“I’m proud we could do this for the school,” Cohen says.
Of course, Cohen has a long history of working to advance and promote UIC.
More than 20 years ago, Cohen began working with the College’s alumni relations team, eventually chairing its Alumni Association. Later, he served as the College’s representative on the UIC Campus Alumni Advisory Board, eventually leading that group while also serving three terms on the University of Illinois Alumni Association’s Board of Directors.
In the beginning, Cohen confesses, his volunteer involvement derived from some strategic self-interests. Working for Dominick’s Finer Foods and responsible for growing the supermarket chain’s pharmacy business, he sought relationships and ideas that might propel Dominick’s performance.
“I realized I couldn’t do this in a vacuum, so I got engaged with colleges and associations to learn and stay current,” he says.
Along the line, however, Cohen’s involvement became increasingly altruistic.
“Giving my time and effort in a sincere way to the College and UIC became an important piece of my life, so much so that I’m still involved some 20 years later,” he says.
And it continues with Cohen’s latest appointment to the first-ever UIC Alumni Engagement Advisors committee, a 26-member group tabbed to increase connectivity and engagement between UIC and its alumni, students and supporters.
“It’s an opportunity for something brand new and undefined,” Cohen says, “but that’s what makes it incredibly exciting.”
After all, Cohen embraces the unknown.