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Colleague Honored with Gift to Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies

Paul and Nancy Vincent
Paul and Nancy Vincent

How do you teach the history of the Holocaust and other mass atrocities to middle and high school students? How do you explore the “why” of it, and encourage students to apply the lessons of the past to help prevent genocide in the future? These are questions that the Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies (CCHGS) answers as it serves as a research and resource center for the teaching of the Holocaust and genocide.

The Center provides materials for educators at the elementary, middle school and high school levels and hosts a weeklong biennial Holocaust and Genocide Summer Institute to train educators to serve as leaders in Holocaust and genocide education in their schools, communities and professional organizations.

Paul Vincent, PhD, who has devoted more than twenty years of his career to CCHGS, and has focused most of his scholarly research on the history of Germany 1914-1945, appreciates that the Summer Institute is an essential component of the Center’s educational work. “Education that focuses on the Holocaust and genocide aims to create space for diversity; it seeks to connect us as human beings by opposing those who hope to divide us into artificial tribes; it demonstrates above all what happens when diversity is denied,” according to Paul.

To help ensure the continuation of the Summer Institute, Paul and his wife Nancy are donating nearly one-third the estimated cost for the 2021 biennial session. Their generous gift is offered as a challenge to others to help support the Summer Institute, too.

Paul and Nancy made their gift in honor of Tom White, MA’95, Coordinator of Educational Outreach for CCHGS. Paul provided the following testimonial to Tom and is work:

“The fundamental nature of Tom’s role at the Cohen Center is, in my mind, insufficiently understood. When in 1998, upon Chuck Hildebrandt’s retirement, I assumed the directorship of the Holocaust Resource Center, I gradually took Chuck’s creation in a new direction. In large measure, I focused on institutionalizing programs—the Holocaust Memorial Lecture, the Kristallnacht Remembrance, the Charles Hildebrandt Holocaust Awards event—and, eventually, on evolving a minor in Holocaust Studies. While these were important activities, they were internally focused on Keene State College and the immediate community. As such, they didn’t fully embody Chuck’s spirit.

“Tom, who joined me in 2001, encapsulated Chuck’s spirit by reaching out to secondary school teachers and principals, by speaking on the radio, by establishing both a biennial summer institute (the first in 2002) and regular on-campus workshops for teacher training, thereby emblazoning Chuck’s commitment “to remember … and to teach” throughout New Hampshire and beyond.

“When the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous identified the Cohen Center as among its elite “Centers of Excellence” in teacher education, that accolade was owed to Tom’s work. But Tom’s goal was always to empower others. He wrote, in his welcome letter to the 26 student-educators participating in the 2006 Summer Institute, that “[w]e are investing in you to become partners in spreading the mission and vision of the Cohen Center. Our mission is to use the study of the Holocaust to motivate successive generations to recognize an ethical responsibility to respond to hatred and prejudice… . Take advantage of this [week’s] unique opportunity! You, as educators, are the crucial link between memory and conscience. Education is our major weapon in counteracting the negative behaviors of humanity.”

To provide a gift to the Summer Institute and for more information, contact Marilyn Shriver, Director of Development, at 603-358-2371 or

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