Dian Cohen, LL.D., June 1, 2000
Dian Nusgart Cohen
C.M.; B.A.(Hon.)(Tor.); LL.D.(Acad.)

"Economics is a subject profoundly conducive to cliché, resonant with boredom. On few topics is an...audience so practiced in turning off its ears and minds. And ... none can say that the response is ill advised." John Kenneth Galbraith certainly did not know today's candidate for an honorary degree when he made that remark. Canadian economist, Dian Cohen, has a remarkable record of making the complex world of economics understandable and interesting to us all.

Born in Winnipeg, Dian Cohen received her BA (Hons) from the University of Toronto in 1956. She pursued post graduate studies in Economics at McGill University, and independent studies at the University of Miami.

She is an economics consultant with special interest in pensions and president of DC Productions Limited, a communication company that specializes in economic, business and financial analysis and strategy. She has worked for more than two decades in multimedia production, with numerous radio, television, video and print productions to her credit. She helped create the business segment for CTV's Canada AM. From 1994-1996 she co-hosted This Week in Business for Baton Broadcasting. She is currently author and host for three CJRT-FM Open College programs on economics and the global economy.

Dian Cohen's list of wide-ranging activities testifies to her broad interests. She is well-known for her efforts toward educating the Canadian public in taking control of their personal finances. As a freelance economist, she has made it her business to make economics a part of the things ordinary people talk about. Indeed, she has been described by many as the "People's Economist" for her ability to translate economic jargon into something we can all understand. Among her successful and popular books are No Small Change: Success in Canada’s New Economy; Money; and The Next Canadian Economy.

In her latest book, "The New Retirement" she lays out the myths that lull Canadians into a dangerous complacency about their retirement prospects. These include: the myth of a lifetime job with a secure company pension; the myth of viable, universal government pensions; the myth of universal, free health care. She raises issues and asks questions that some wish she would not. She says, "forget the traditional idea of retirement. The new retirement is new because much of the old system is broken...Plan to do some kind of work until you’re carried out face down and feet first."

Dian Cohen is a director of, or advisor to, several Canadian and international corporations, including Canadian Pacific Limited, Royal Insurance and the International Institute for Sustainable Development. She is well known for her volunteer work with such organizations as the Corporate Fund for Breast Cancer Research and the Canadian Merit Scholarship Fund. Dian Cohen was recently listed at the National Post's Power 50 Women in Canada, recognizing her as an influential woman in her field with the ability to influence people and events.

One of the best known economic writers and speakers in Canada, and a recipient of the Order of Canada, Ms. Cohen has honored the University by donating her papers, recordings and photographs to the Libraries' Department of Archives and Special Collections. The collection documents Dian Cohen's media career and provides insight into the methodology and techniques used by a media professional and specialist and is rich in the analysis and interpretation of continuing topics and events. The extensive interviews document the thoughts and ideas of prominent economists, entrepreneurs, and politicians. They capture Bill Gates, Donald Trump, Nobel Laureate James Tobin, Future Shock author Alvin Toffler, Info Tech Consultant Don Tapscott and John Kenneth Galbraith in deep conversation with Dian Cohen covering the important issues of the day. The collection will be of great interest and value to economic historians and other students of financial matters.

At the end of all her cross country touring and speaking, Dian Cohen can look forward to returning to her cottage in Quebec and to her passion for baking, family time with her children, and pursuing her next book, which is going to be about social transformation and doing business in the wired world.