Spring 2017 Corps Review    |    Back

Maj. Stanley Cohen in front of a 70-plus-year old C-45 aircraft named “Hokie Pokie.” The university purchased the plane after World War II, and it is now owned by the Tri-State Warbird Museum of Batavia, Ohio.

Maj. Stanley Cohen in front of a 70-plus-year old C-45 aircraft named “Hokie Pokie.”
Maj. Stanley Cohen in front of a 70-plus-year old C-45 aircraft named “Hokie Pokie.” The university purchased the plane after World War II, and it is now owned by the Tri-State Warbird Museum of Batavia, Ohio.

Maj. Stanley Cohen
1928 – 2016 

Maj. Stanley Cohen loved aircraft, Virginia Tech, the Corps of Cadets, engineering, his American Volunteer Group jacket, story-telling, friends, and family.

Cohen, who died Dec. 30, 2016, at age 88, was a distinguished graduate of Virginia Tech, the beloved husband of Frances D. Cohen, a devoted father to Ron and Martha, and a loving grandfather. To the Corps of Cadets, he was a friend, philanthropist, and partner.

In recent years, the Virginia Tech community knew Cohen as the World War II pilot who helped bring airplanes from the Tri-State Warbird Museum in Ohio to Blacksburg for the last seven seasons to conduct military flyovers of Lane Stadium. “We thought we could rattle a few windows,” Cohen said in 2012. 

Cohen served in World War II with the 14th Air Force, 23rd Fighter Group, 75th Tactical Fighter Squadron (Flying Tigers) in the China/Burma/India theater. He flew the P-40N “Kitty Hawk.”

In 1945, he came to Virginia Tech and joined the Corps of Cadets. He worked during the summers as a lifeguard in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

He received his bachelor’s degree in architectural engineering in 1949 and immediately enrolled in graduate school for civil engineering. He worked as a teaching assistant for the head of the department and as a line and grade engineer for the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission from 1950 to 1951. He was a member of two honor societies, architectural engineering’s Phi Kappa Phi and civil engineering’s Tau Beta Pi.

After earning his master’s degree, Cohen moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, to begin a 27-year career as chief engineer and field manager with a major construction firm. During that time, he became a licensed Professional Engineer in nine states, including Virginia.

He founded Stanley Enterprises Inc. in 1978. The firm designed and constructed buildings in 15 states for large national accounts. Cohen retired from the construction industry in 1993.

An active and generous Virginia Tech alumnus, Cohen endowed the Stanley & Frances Cohen Scholarship in Civil Engineering in 1984. He continued annual support to at least four scholarships and endowed a Corps of Cadets Emerging Leader Scholarship in 1993, which now supports four cadets each year.

Cohen was a charter member of the Virginia Tech Ut Prosim Society, the College of Engineering Committee of 100, and the Civil and Engineering Alumni Advisory Board. In addition, he was a member of the university’s Legacy Society and a Silver Hokie.

When asked about his Virginia Tech philanthropy in 2012, Cohen said, “I believe my education and experience at Virginia Tech prepared me to excel in my chosen field, and I attempt to make myself an example for young people.”

Cohen set an example for all at Virginia Tech and dedicated his entire life to our motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve). He will not be forgotten, as his legacy lives on through the Corps; the Charles E. Via, Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; and the Hokie Nation. 

Maj. Stanley Cohen

Maj. Stanley Cohen
Maj. Stanley Cohen

In Your Own Words

“He was very generous to the Corps, the College of Engineering, and athletics. His philanthropy was perhaps best demonstrated by covering the costs of flying vintage aircraft to Virginia Tech each fall and helping with the lodging and meal expenses for the aircrews. He was in his element visiting with anyone who ventured out to the airport to see the planes on static display. Few will ever forget Stan Cohen.”

— Dave Spracher ’70, former Corps of Cadets chief development officer

“Stan Cohen epitomized the Greatest Generation. He fought the most savage war in the history of civilization and then spent the rest of his life making things better for the people around him. His generosity to his friends and his alma mater was significant, and the special place he held in his heart for the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets was evident whenever we were together. I always smiled when a random phone call would come in from Cincinnati, because I knew it was my friend Stan checking in to see how I was doing.”

— Richard “Rock” Roszak ’71, former Corps of Cadets alumni director and current member of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association board of directors 

“Jan. 5, 2017, was a bittersweet day as we said goodbye and honored one of our nation's heroes, Maj. Stan Cohen ’49, at his funeral. He was a brilliant man and his resume was packed with many accomplishments, but what set him apart was his generosity. Stan was quoted to say, ‘If we don't give to others, who will?’ My life has been enriched by the five short years I have known Stan. He loved his alma mater and lived the values of Ut Prosim.”

— Scott M. Pearl ’84, Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets Alumni Board task force chairman

“He was always willing to share his Corps and military experiences. I could tell that it was truly an important part of his life, and I am glad that I could share in some of those experiences and hear his stories. I am extremely thankful for his support of my future in both the Corps and the Navy.”

— Cadet Judith Skinker ’17, recipient of Cohen’s Emerging Leader Scholarship

“Mr. Cohen was a fine man who cared greatly about his chosen profession of civil engineering. Whenever he made a visit to Virginia Tech for his dedicated involvement with the Corps of Cadets, he always took time to engage with the civil engineering department and connect with the students whom he supported through his endowed scholarship fund. Mr. Cohen always enjoyed meeting the students, sharing stories about civil engineering from years past, and learning about the demands on students in the current day.”

— Kara Lattimer VT’02, academic/career advisor, Charles E. Via, Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

 “A conversation with Stan Cohen always left me with a smile. He was a larger-than-life individual who had a genuine love for Virginia Tech. He was generous and sincere in his support of both the Corps and the civil and environmental engineering department.  He really enjoyed interacting with the students and his fellow alums — especially on game days when he would sponsor his antique plane visits.”

— Vickie Mouras ’78 and ’97, professor of practice, Charles E. Via, Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

“It was my pleasure to have known Stan over many years. He was a devoted alum of Virginia Tech, the Corps of Cadets, and the civil engineering department. Stan provided scholarship support to civil and electrical engineering students over an extended period of time; further, he always enjoyed the opportunity to meet the students he supported and learn about their aspirations. I will think fondly of Stan whenever an antique plane flies over Lane Stadium during a football game!”

— Bill Knocke, professor, Charles E. Via, Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

“As a three-year recipient of Mr. Cohen's civil and environmental engineering scholarship, I am honored to have gotten to know such an outstanding person. I will forever cherish the conversations with him over our annual breakfast about his love for Virginia Tech students and his aircraft. Words cannot express my appreciation for Mr. Cohen and the impact he had on me and the Virginia Tech community.

— Josh Dolinger  VT’17, recipient of the Stanley & Frances Cohen Scholarship in Civil Engineering

 “Mr. Cohen greatly enjoyed developing a personal connection with his scholarship recipients and made it a point to have breakfast with us. I could see that he genuinely cared about our academic and professional pursuits. In our breakfasts together, he took time to learn about each of our ambitions and studies. He then shared his own experiences to help us learn, and also to put a smile on our faces.”

— Mark Remmey VT’19, recipient of the Stanley & Frances Cohen Scholarship in Civil Engineering