Donors Make a Difference: Robb Cohen and Gail Schwartz


Photo­graphy by
Jeff Watts

Robb Cohen, Alexandra Cohen, and Gail Schwartz

During their daughter’s college search, Gail Schwartz and Robb Cohen suspected American University—with its DC location, myriad experiential learning opportunities, and knowledgeable, connected faculty who could nurture Alexandra’s interest in national security—would be a good fit.

It turns out, “AU offers her even more than we expected,” Schwartz says. Alex, a member of the School of Public Affairs’ Class of 2023, frequented Embassy Row as part of her International Crisis Management seminar, worked with the Career Center to land a security-related internship this semester, and is learning from accessible professors with real-world experience. 

“Alex knows she has a home at SPA,” Cohen says. “The faculty and staff are her mentors and supporters.” 

The couple also feels at home at the nation’s 13th ranked school of public affairs. SPA’s leadership and expertise in health policy appeal to Schwartz, a physician, and Cohen, a health policy executive. 

AU also aligns closely with the couple’s charitable interests. When Cohen drove Alex from the family’s Pikesville, Maryland, home to campus for a preview visit, he dropped in on the Center for Israel Studies—the first initiative of its kind at a US university, focusing on Israel’s history, multiethnic society, and geopolitical challenges. He also visited with AU Hillel staff, learning about the plethora of programs that help students explore their Jewish identities. “We were impressed right off the bat with what we saw—these are things we care about,” says Cohen, who now serves on the center’s advisory board. 

The couple gives annually to AU and has chosen to invest in the university’s future by naming it in their estate plans. “We’re impressed with the school’s leadership and vision. AU develops future leaders, and that is something we want to support,” says Cohen, a member of AU’s Parent Leadership Council. “We are thankful we can help.”

For information on how your charitable estate planning can create a legacy at AU, contact Seth Speyer, executive director of planned giving, at 202-885-3411 or; or visit