In Memoriam: Sheldon S. Cohen

Mr. Cohen, chairman emeritus of the Board of Trustees, served on the board for 22 years.

September 05, 2018

Sheldon S. Cohen, George Washington University Board of Trustees chairman emeritus, triple GW alumnus, dedicated public servant and world-renowned tax attorney, died Sept. 4. He was 91.

Mr. Cohen, A.A. ’48, B.A. ’50, J.D. ’52, served on the GW Board of Trustees for 22 years, from 1980 to 2002, including as chairman from 2000 to 2001. He taught at GW Law and received an honorary doctorate of laws from the university in 2003.

“Chairman Emeritus Cohen will be greatly missed by the George Washington University community,” said Board of Trustees Chair Nelson A. Carbonell Jr., B.S. ’85.

A native of Washington, D.C., and graduate of D.C. public schools, Mr. Cohen was a World War II Naval veteran and practiced law in the D.C. area for many years. He served as the commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service and general counsel to the Democratic National Committee. 

Internationally, Mr. Cohen advised countries on their tax systems, traveling on United Nations special missions to help developing countries and meeting with Nelson Mandela post-apartheid. In private practice, he founded the law firm Cohen & Uretz.

In addition to his service on GW’s board, Mr. Cohen lent his expertise to several policy and community organizations, including the Jewish Social Service Agency, the Order of the Leaf of Camp Airy, American Jewish Historical Society, United Jewish Endowment Fund, Supreme Court Historical Society, the Jewish Theological Seminary and Adas Israel Congregation.

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