The Biggest Penn Family on Campus?
- by Matthew Brodsky
Many people around Wharton know David A. Cohen as a judge in the Wharton Business Plan Competition (BPC) Finals since 2009. (His Los Angeles-based firm Karlin Asset Management, for which he serves as CEO and chief investment officer, has also been a sponsor.) Less known is his role in a parental triple crown—in that he now has three children attending Penn simultaneously. Please note: There are no twins or triplets involved in this arrangement.
The Cohen feat became official when he and wife Laurie dropped off all three on campus on Friday, August 23. I had a chance to talk with the family that day.
The first question that came to my mind was how much parental pressure may have played a role. I waited a few minutes to ask that one, but was quickly rebuffed when I did.
“There was parental pressure to go to a top academic school,” Jeremy corrected me—not specifically Penn or Wharton.
Ari, now a senior at the College studying history and art history and an enthusiastic admissions tour guide on campus, was the pioneer. Penn’s Kelly Writers House attracted her. She had the good fortune as a high schooler of visiting the Writers House, attending classes and participating in several Fellows’ lectures.
Jeremy, a sophomore at Wharton and a dedicated Penn club soccer player, explained his admissions decision by pointing to the exposure he had to Penn through his father and sister—and to Wharton’s world-class reputation.
“I decided it was the best option for me to apply early,” he said.
College freshman Dani has big expectations as well. “I hope to find my passion and explore a wide variety of classes and really find my love,” she said.
Both Dani and Jeremy also attended summer programs at Penn.
As for the family patriarch, David Cohen does not hold a Penn degree though he has a few from other institutions: a master’s from Cambridge University and a B.S. in engineering from Boston University (along with a graduate school stint at Sydney University in Australia).
Still, his family’s ties to Penn run deep. Besides the Wharton BPC, Cohen has served as guest speaker at the Wharton Leadership in the Business World (LBW) program, an intensive summer session for a select group of rising high school seniors. His father Dr. Seymour Cohen was an associate professor who instructed Penn medical students and medical residents from 1978 to 1995. His brother, Jeffrey, ENG’90, holds an engineering degree.
Perhaps the next Penn student will be little brother Jordan, a high school freshman, who was on hand to also enjoy the family move-in experience.
It does appear everyone is happy to grow the connection. The day the family came to campus, Ari turned to her father and gave him a spontaneous hug.
“Dad, I just love this school,” is what she then said to him.
Editor’s note: Do you have a large contingent of kids on campus? Do you know of a proud family legacy involving multiple family members on campus at the same time? Let us know below in the comments, or email us your story.