Dr. Louise S. Cowan (1916-2015) was inaugural holder of the Louise Cowan Chair of Literature at the University of Dallas and is a Founding Fellow of the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture. She is formerly Chair of the English Department and Dean of Graduate Studies at the University of Dallas. She and her husband Donald Cowan were central and instrumental in the creation and building of both the University of Dallas and the Dallas Institute. In 1983 she conceived of and initiated the Teachers Academy at the Dallas Institute, which in July 2009 conducted its 26th consecutive Summer Institute for Teachers, a program that the National Endowment for the Humanities called a “model for the nation” and for which, among other contributions, she received the Charles Frankel Prize in 1991, now called the National Humanities Medal, the nation’s highest award for work in the humanities. During her long career, she has received numerous awards for her achievements in teaching and advancing liberal education.
Dr. Cowan received her Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University and has written widely on the American South and especially Faulkner, the Russian novel, and literary theory, especially in formulating her own theory of the four literary genres, about which she has edited and contributed to three volumes of essays.