Dr. Milton L. Cofield

394

March 23, 1951 – April 20, 2022
Homegoing Services for Dr. Cofield will go forth at Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel, Natchitoches, Saturday, April 30 at 11 a.m. The casketed remains will lie in state for public visitation Saturday from 9 a.m. until service time. Interment will follow in the St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery in the Bermuda community.
Milton Le Verne Cofield, Ph.D, departed his earthly home Wednesday, April 20, 2022, at the age of 71.
Dr. Cofield was a loving son, brother, father, husband, grandfather, uncle and cousin.
Among his many wonderful qualities, his infectious laugh and selfless nature, evidenced by his lifetime of commitment and caregiving to his family and loved ones, will forever be missed.
Milton was the third of six children born to the late Andrew Cofield Jr. and Rosa Mae Robinson-Cofield. Dr. Cofield was born at his parents’ bedside to a family of humble means yet rich in love, in Natchitoches.
He was educated in the public school system, and was often noted among the most academically astute students of his era. teaching his high school chemistry class at age 14 and graduating as a National Merit Scholar and salutatorian from Central High School. For four years he proudly served as Class of 1969 Class President.
As a student at Central High, Dr. Cofield began to hone his interests in community and civic participation and served as the leader of the student body movement to integrate Central High. In this capacity, Dr. Cofield was responsible for meeting with school leadership to successfully negotiate terms and express concerns on behalf of his fellow classmates.
Cofield graduated from Southern University in Baton Rouge, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry, magna cum laude, in 1973 where he continued to excel and achieve. He attended graduate school at the University of Illinois and received his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry in 1979.
It was here that he met his first wife and fellow undergraduate classmate, Melody Cofield, Ed.D, married and became father of two daughters Raquel Antroinette (1976), and Jacqueline Melissa (1978) both born in Champaign, Ill.
Upon graduation the couple moved to Rochester, N.Y., where he began his career as a physical scientist in the research laboratories of the Eastman Kodak Company in 1979. The family expanded, adding his third and youngest daughter, Natalie Madeira (1981).
In 1989, Dr. Cofield was awarded the M.B.A. degree in Finance from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School and upon graduation was appointed assistant to the President of SUNY College at Brockport, N.Y., and also served as Executive Director of the Rochester Educational Opportunity Center. In 1996, Dr. Cofield was named James E. McGhee Distinguished Professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology and in 2000, he was appointed Fulbright Senior Scholar in the Graduate Institute of Technology and Innovation Management at National Chengchi University in Taipei, Taiwan, and also a Fulbright American Studies Professor at De LaSalle University at Manila, Philippines.
Upon departure from RIT, Dr. Cofield became a Distinguished Teaching Professor and the executive director of the Undergraduate Business Administration program at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pa. He was the first African American to hold this position in the history of the University.
Due to his commitment to scholarship and community leadership, Dr. Cofield was appointed to the New York State Board of Regents for 10 years where he was elected by his colleagues to the position of Vice Chancellor. Cofield was also among the first African Americans to be appointed as a member of the Board of Governors for the New York Academy of Sciences and was the second Black Vice Chancellor for the NYS Board of Regents.
In 2019, Dr. Cofield married his wife, Dr. Jill Cofield, at First Baptist Church Amulet in Natchitoches.
For the last four years, Dr. Cofield served as Distinguished Service Professor of Business Management at Carnegie Mellon University Qatar. Milton was very proud of his students who recently honored him with an award that quotes the author Judy Blume and reads, “Our fingerprints never fade from the lives we touch.” He was named as a favorite professor at Carnegie Mellon University by Bloomberg.
While we mourn this loss, we celebrate his many contributions as a scholar, activist, professor, elected-official and community leader championing educational opportunity for all.
Dr. Cofield leaves his loving memories to be cherished by his wife, Dr. Jill Cofield; father-in-law, Lawrence Lansing; three daughters, Raquel, Jacqueline and Natalie; their mother, Dr. Melody Cofield; two sisters, Barbara (Walter) Askew and Ellois Cofield of Natchitoches; one brother, Ronald Cofield of Baton Rouge; four grandchildren, Ethan, Logan and Dylan Brown of Rochester, N.Y., and Imani Cofield Niang of New York, NY; 10 nieces; seven nephews; seven siblings-in-law; and and a host of other relatives and friends.
He is preceded in death by his parents and two brothers, Andrew Cofield III and Harold Cofield; and his nephew, Cory Cofield.