Judy Cohen graduated from Wellesley College with a major in French and worked for the administration at Duke University before coming to Harrisonburg in 1973. When her husband, Ralph Cohen, began establishing JMU’s study abroad program, she provided him with secretarial support, primarily helping to set up the semesters in London and in Paris. As part of the faculty family in residence, she accompanied her husband to London for five semesters and to Florence for two terms, where she helped provide administrative assistance. She is an avid supporter of the arts and has contributed in a variety of ways to the growth and success of the American Shakespeare Center. She serves on the Board of the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival through Eastern Mennonite University.
Her experience abroad led to her work as a private tour guide and later a travel agent specializing in custom European trips. Her first fourteen years at JMU were devoted almost entirely to directing the JMU/Commonwealth of Virginia International Internship Program and to managing bookings for Madison House, JMU's student residence hall in London. Currently, she promotes the master’s program in Florence, oversees OIP publications and coordinates various special events and projects. Her travels include Western and Eastern Europe, Japan, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand.