Mary Cohron: Shattering the Glass Ceiling

Photo by Joe Howell
Photo by Joe Howell

When Mary Cohron, EMBA’88, received her degree from Owen Graduate School of Management, she was one of only eight women in her class of about 50.

“Back in 1988 there weren’t that many women in top-tier business schools, and Vanderbilt took a chance on me,” Cohron says.

She credits Vanderbilt for many of the opportunities she had in her career, and her gratitude led her to give back through scholarship support to help others realize the rewards of an Owen education. Cohron’s support comes in the form of a charitable remainder trust, a type of planned gift that allows her to receive annual income with a payment rate that exceeds most yields on bank and money market accounts.

“It’s a win-win,” Cohron says. “Vanderbilt has the full benefit from the donation, and I benefit from it for the rest of my life.”

After completing her degree she continued her banking career in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and eventually was asked to serve as founding president of a new local bank. She knew others in the area had similar backgrounds, and at the time it was a novel idea for a woman to sit at the helm of a bank. She was told much later that her Vanderbilt degree gave her an edge.

Determined to stay connected to Vanderbilt, Cohron is a member of the Owen Alumni Board and is on campus regularly. She has the opportunity to observe the quality of the environment, programs and students of her alma mater, and she is passionate about helping other alumni understand the value of their contributions.

“It gets better and better. … We all like to invest in things that are positive and growing, and Vanderbilt is something every alumnus can be proud of. It is a great investment.”