John Arnold and Doug McPherson

May 16, 2022

University News

Change agent: Marathon Award winner Robert Cohen

MSU Denver honored Cohen at its Commencement ceremonies May 13 as winner of the Marathon Award.

John Arnold and Doug McPherson

May 16, 2022

When Robert Cohen looks back on his 30-year journey with Metropolitan State University of Denver, he sees a University transformed.

MSU Denver’s transition to university status, increase of diversity, addition of graduate programs and new campus buildings, and the establishment of a special tuition rate for undocumented students all happened under Cohen’s watch as a longtime member and chair of the MSU Denver Board of Trustees.

One thing that hasn’t changed over the decades: his motivation for serving and supporting the institution.

“It’s about the mission, and it’s about transformational change,” said Cohen, chairman and CEO of IMA Financial Group, Inc. “I think the students who come out of this institution are truly transforming our city, our state and our country.”

Rob Cohen
Robert Cohen speaks at the Assembly Athletics Complex at MSU Denver in 2017. Photo by Carl Payne

MSU Denver honored Cohen at its Commencement ceremonies May 13 as winner of the Marathon Award, the University’s highest honor recognizing distinguished members of the community who are dedicated to MSU Denver’s mission and who demonstrate a spirit of service that reflects society’s highest values.


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Cohen served on the MSU Denver Foundation board from 1998-2005 and on the University’s Board of Trustees from 2008-2015, including five years as chair.

In 2017, the Cohen family announced the Molly and Rob Cohen Athletic Pacesetter Scholarship Program, which has awarded 29 scholarships to student-athletes. The Assembly Athletic Complex’s 23,000-square-foot athletic center was named the Cohen Center for Athletics in honor of the family that year. 

“The Roadrunner Difference is the spirit of determination and persistence that drives students to achieve success on campus and in their careers,” said MSU Denver President Janine Davidson, Ph.D. “Rob is the epitome of the Roadrunner Difference, and his contributions to this University are profound and unparalleled. He has been an integral part of MSU Denver’s journey and has been foundational to many of our successes and milestones.”