Nancy Cole was born in Brooklyn, New York, and grew up in a combination of places, from Washington, D.C., to England, and then Middletown, Ohio. "Because of the size of our community in Ohio, I more or less postponed my real theatre training until I went to University." Nancy attended Indiana University, and then went onto obtain her Master of Fine Arts, the terminal degree for those in the practicing fine arts.
In 1976 she was urged to apply for the Chair of the Theatre Department here at the University of South Florida. Nancy accepted the job and has been involved with USF in the College of Visual and Performing Arts for 30 years. During her time here at USF she has made an impact for students both inside the classroom and out. She directed and produced many plays here at USF and in the Tampa community.