Carnegie Mellon University
March 16, 2024

Loss of Beloved CMU Leader and Community Member

Dear Members of the Carnegie Mellon Community:

Earlier today, we received the heartbreaking news that Dr. Jerry Cohon, who served as Carnegie Mellon University’s eighth president from 1997 to 2013, had peacefully passed away in Ligonier, Pa.

This is a devastating loss for the CMU community, for Pittsburgh and for the nation. Jerry was widely respected and immensely beloved, and his leadership and scholarship have shaped the trajectories of an untold number of Tartans over the years. His brilliant mind, unyielding energy and unimpeachable integrity have made our institution — and our society — better in innumerable ways.

On a personal note, Jerry was a mensch. I am deeply grateful for his friendship and wise counsel over the years, and for the many ways he served the CMU community. Our hearts go out to his wife, Maureen “Bunny” Cohon, their daughter, Hallie Donner, son-in-law, Josh, and two grandchildren, Solomon and Nathan.

I recognize that many members of our university will be looking for ways to appropriately recognize and remember Jerry’s extraordinary life and his impact. Please know that in the coming days, we will share more information regarding arrangements as well as a full obituary and reflections on Jerry’s immeasurable contributions. We will also be working to organize an on-campus celebration at a later date in order to come together to honor his remarkable life and impact.

For all of us grieving this loss, let us find solace in the realization that President Emeritus Jerry Cohon’s extraordinary legacy is already inextricably threaded throughout our institution and will continue to be so for generations to come.


Farnam Jahanian
Henry L. Hillman President’s Chair