Roberta Cohen, MS ‘69 (left), and Frances Belfiore Hilliard ‘73, MS ‘78

Two alumnae have contributed to support the College's faculty and graduate students in MS Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program, respectively.

Two College of Nursing and Public Health (CNPH) alumnae—Roberta Cohen, MS ‘69, and Frances Belfiore Hilliard ‘73, MS ‘78—have recently made major endowment contributions to their alma mater—one in support of the College’s Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner master’s degree students and the other supporting the College’s faculty.

Deborah Hunt, PhD ‘12, dean of the College, said, ”The funds from Roberta Cohen will enable us to support more students in their academic journeys toward becoming qualified and experienced practitioners to provide mental health services to the diverse populations we serve. Frances Belfiore Hilliard’s gift will enable our highly accomplished faculty to expand their knowledge, share their research and attend conferences so they can continue to contribute to their fields and prepare future generations of nurses and healthcare professionals.”

Adding to the Roberta G. Cohen MS ‘69, RN, CS Scholarship

Cohen has added $25,000 to her previous gifts, bringing the market value of her scholarship endowment to more than $230,000, all in support of CNPH students pursuing a Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner master’s degree.

She became a hospital-trained nurse at Bellevue Hospital in New York City after receiving her baccalaureate from Hunter College and a Master of Science in Adult Psychiatry and Mental Health Nursing at Adelphi in 1969.

The Roberta G. Cohen MS ‘69, RN, CS Scholarship, in memory of Murray Cohen, MD, and Kenneth George Olsen, was established to provide resources for a student or students pursuing a degree at CNPH and also to honor the life journey of Roberta Cohen, a clinical nurse specialist. Her gift supports a student in the MS in Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program who exhibits financial need, maintains a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 and demonstrates a commitment to those living with mental illness.

Cohen had two reasons to pay it forward, as she recalled in a 2018 interview with the CNPH Newsletter.

In a financial bind in the 1960s when her husband was drafted during the Vietnam War era, Cohen said she would have been unable to complete her Adelphi education were it not for receiving a full scholarship, including a stipend for child care.

Then, in 2016, she was seriously injured in a car accident, requiring a full year of recovery. During that time, Cohen reflected a lot on her life. “I thought I was given the gift of extended life and the opportunity to continue to help others, which, as a nurse, I always want to do,” she said, “as well as memorialize the names of my two late husbands, whom I very much miss.”

Frances Belfiore Hilliard ‘73, MS ‘78, Honors Another Life Journey

Making a difference in another way, Hilliard said her $32,500 donation will be put toward robust continuing professional development for CNPH faculty.

Hilliard’s gift reflects her passionate belief that healthcare professionals need to be engaged in lifelong learning. After her graduation from Nassau Community College, she began her career as a registered nurse at Glen Cove Hospital on Long Island before receiving bachelor’s and a master’s degrees from Adelphi University in 1973 and 1978, respectively. After working at St. Francis Hospital in Roslyn as a clinical specialist, Hilliard worked in nursing education at Nassau Community College for 25 years—and became a full professor. She retired in 2010.

A member of Alpha Omega, Adelphi’s chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, the international honor society for nurses, Hilliard now serves as vice chair and corresponding secretary of the Women’s Giving Circle at the University.

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