Coming Together to Help
Dickinson and community join forces to aid seriously injured professor
by MaryAlice Bitts
September 21, 2011
A serious bicycle accident in July placed Associate Professor of Religion Dan Cozort in Hershey Medical Center for several weeks. Recently, he moved to a local rehabilitation facility, where he continues treatment. He stopped by the Sept. 18 fundraiser to personally thank everyone who had come to help.
Associate Professor of Religion Dan Cozort was riding his bicycle on July 15 when he was struck by a car and seriously injured. As word of the accident spread across campus, his friends, colleagues and students were at a loss. “I wanted to do whatever I could to help, but I wasn't sure how,” explained one of his students, Suri Smith ’13.
That desire powered a fundraiser that brought Dickinsonians and Carlisle-area community members together to help one of their own.
Held Sept. 18 at the Holland Union Building (HUB), Yoga for Cozort raised $5,200 to help pay for costs not covered by health insurance. Faculty members also contributed an additional $800 in private donations for the cause. The funds will help the professor purchase a modified vehicle, secure an accessible apartment and cover home-health visits.
From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., participants took yoga classes led by volunteer instructors, including Art & Art History Studio Technician Brooke Wiley, and for $1 per minute, they purchased chair massages performed by volunteer therapists.
The yoga theme was appropriate for the fundraiser because Cozort has taught yoga, said Professor of Religion and department chair Mara Donaldson, who co-organized the event with registered nurse/yoga instructor Bonnie Berk. “We’ve received support from the college at all levels, including students, who did a lot of the legwork,” she added. “It’s remarkable.”
Members of Cozort’s church and other community members also contributed by donating and selling crafts and baked goods. Students sold raffle tickets for items donated by downtown businesses, and Dining Services provided healthy snacks for the event.
Julia Klyus ’12, a double major in neuroscience and religion, was among the many students who pitched in. “Professor Cozort had a huge influence on me by opening the door to Eastern religion. He made me fall in love with my major,” said Klyus, who had paid a visit to her academic advisor, with homemade muffins, earlier that week.
Trout Gallery Attendant Rosalie Lehman also came to the HUB to help. “I was an administrative assistant for the philosophy and religion departments for 26 years, so Dan is a friend,” said Lehman, who sold raffle tickets and bought a ticket for a massage.
Massage therapist and local business owner Camille Baughman worked behind the scenes to organize the massage sessions, securing help from fellow massage professionals. Most were from the Carlisle area, but three of them drove two hours, round-trip, to offer their services.
Baughman, who often visited the college to participate in cultural events organized by Cozort, was not surprised by the outpouring of support. “Dan is a teacher and mentor to so many, and he has an extraordinary ability to bring people together. It’s a gift he has,” she said. “Now it’s time for us to come together for him.”
During the fundraiser, Cozort stopped by the HUB to thank all who had joined up to support him.
“I am just overwhelmed by the generosity of all of the people, mostly Dickinson students, faculty and staff, who organized and ran this event," said Cozort. “I’m deeply touched and very grateful.”