“It’s about humanity.”
~ Harvey Cohen
When it came time to consider their legacy, Harvey stated simply, "It's about humanity." Their first legacy donation helped build North Collier Hospital. Before they could finalize their other legacy contributions, on July 17, 2010, their daughter Fran died of breast cancer. Harvey's heartache caused his health to deteriorate quickly and he followed her in death on February 27, 2011. Within a year's time, Janet's life changed forever. In despair, Janet often would ask her friends melodiously, "What's it all about, Alfie?"
Reminded of the inspirational words of President Woodrow Wilson, "You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand." Janet found purpose and once again felt joy in life as she set about her task of determining the family legacy. She began with Florida Gulf Coast University, an institution that she and Harvey had supported with scholarships.
Harvey and Janet both had recognized the importance of a student union where students are engaged in activities beyond the classroom. In this center, enduring friendships, lifelong leadership skills and the values of civility, cooperation and caring are developed, and these were the interactions, skills and values that were important to the Cohens' own success in business and in life. Janet was especially fond of this facility because it is alive with activity and laughter.
When Janet presented their lead gift to the University, through her tears she endearingly referred to the student union as "Harv's Place." In recognition of this significant and meaningful gift to enrich the college experience, Florida Gulf Coast University dedicated the student union to them on January 10, 2012. Even before the building was dedicated "Harvey and Janet Cohen Center," the student body was already referring to their place away from home as "Harv's Place."