Making a Difference
While Jana Hong '67 Cohen may have spent her adult life on the mainland, her strong family ties keep her a kama'aina at heart.
Jana, born and raised in Hawai'i, earned her doctorate of pharmacy and an executive MBA, from the University of Southern California. She started as a staff pharmacist at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in L.A. in 1974 and rose to director of pharmacy at what is now Cedars Sinai Medical Center. Jana and husband Jordan then moved to Kentucky, where she took a position at Merck, and where he was appointed dean of the University of Kentucky's College of Pharmacy. They spent 11 years there before moving to Iowa City, where Jana is now retired and Jordan serves as vice president for research at the University of Iowa.
The Cohens have always been committed to giving back, believing that all students should have the same opportunities that they have been afforded. "It's been our philosophy," said Jana, who credits her connection to Punahou to her parents, James '39 and Rita Hong, and to mentor and high school chemistry teacher Bernard Logasa.
"I loved the sciences – and he made it very interesting. He was the type of teacher that helped you find your passion and then helped nurture it," recalled Jana. "He made a really big impact on my life."
She also appreciates the many sacrifices her parents made in providing the opportunity to attend Punahou and in investing in a great education. "They just did so much for me," she said.
In 2000, the Cohens created scholarships in honor of Jana's parents and of Logasa. The James Koon Inn '39 and Rita Ivy Lowe Hong Endowed Scholarship Fund provides qualifying students with financial aid while the Ben Logasa Endowed Scholarship Fund offers financial assistance to qualifying students interested in science.
Both funds, say Jana, are a small token of the Cohens' appreciation. "Punahou has always been at the leading edge of K – 12 education and I've always felt grateful for the strong academic foundation and life values it provided me for moving forward."