Drew University Mourns Passing of Longtime Professor Donald Cole C’59

Cole taught economics for 41 years, co-founded the school’s Brussels study abroad program

August 2022 – It is with sadness that Drew University announces the passing of longtime professor Dr. Donald Cole C’59.

In addition to his teaching role in the College of Liberal Arts (CLA), Cole was also a graduate of Drew and co-founded of the school’s Program on the European Community, a study abroad program in Brussels.

For Cole, Drew was a family affair.

Cole was born while his father, George Cole T’37, was a student in the Drew Theological School. The younger Cole would eventually meet his future wife, Mary (Davies) C’69, G’75 shortly after she herself had graduated from the CLA. Donald and Mary got married in 1971. Both of their children, Alex C’97 and Pete C’02, would go on to attend their alma mater.

“He was really proud of having three generations at Drew,” said Pete Cole.

After graduating from Drew in 1959 with a degree in economics, Cole got his masters at the University of Montana and his PhD at Ohio State University. He also served honorably in the U.S. Air force Reserves from 1962-68.

While he was working toward his PhD, Cole returned to Drew in 1966 to serve as an instructor of economics, thus beginning his 41 years of teaching in the CLA. He became an assistant professor in 1968, associate professor in 1972, and full professor in 1980. He also served as the department’s chair from 1975-81 and 2002-2004. After retiring in 2006, Cole was given the distinction of being named professor emeritus of economics.

In his first year as an instructor, Cole co-founded the Program on the European Community. The Brussels program became a hallmark for Drew students studying abroad for more than 50 years. Cole served as its resident director from 1966-76 and 1983-85.

The Cole family invites Dr. Cole’s former students and friends for a memorial at the Drew Chapel on September 24 and 2 p.m. and share stories with the family at the reception in Mead Hall following the service.

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