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A memorial mass was held Monday, November 23, at 10 a.m. at Christ the King Church, 8017 Preston Rd., Dallas, TX 75225.

To submit a remembrance for Dr. Louise Cowan, email JKalin@dallasinstitute.org 

Mary Louise Shillingburg Cowan had passions for literature and education, which she felt could transform society. The former University of Dallas English professor and co-founder of the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture was devoted to education for nearly 70 years. Read more from the Dallas Morning News


“Sleep well, Dr. Cowan. I am the teacher I am today because of you.”
–Anna Farinas Gay (via Twitter)

“What a wonderful lady. Enjoyed reading her essays. Her lectures/discussions always pushed me to think deeper. What a beautiful footprint she leaves behind!”
–Michelle Brinkman (via Facebook)

“We lost a truly great women but I am comforted thinking of all the people she taught. The lives she made better through education love and compassion. Our thoughts and prayers to her family.” –John Nyhart (via Facebook)

“Praying for her, her family and all those whom she touched with her grace and wisdom. May perpetual light shine upon her and may her soul and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.”
–The UD in DC Alumni Community (via Facebook)

“When I think of Dr. Cowan, I’ll imagine her in the garden where time has no end and the blessed language of lyric is made perfect.”
–Amy Fleming (via Twitter)

“One of my favorite and most challenging mentors Louise Cowan has died, @UofDallas @TheDIHC legend.” 
–Joel Garza (via Twitter) with link to The Dallas Morning News.

“I don’t wish to live in a world without Dr. Cowan. I suppose I’ll have to learn.”
–Dayspring Brock (via Facebook)

“Rest in peace, Dr. Cowan.” –Maria Stromberg (via Facebook; she also added the poem below)

In the nightmare of the dark
All the dogs of Europe bark,
And the living nations wait,
Each sequestered in its hate;

Intellectual disgrace
Stares from every human face,
And the seas of pity lie
Locked and frozen in each eye.

Follow, poet, follow right
To the bottom of the night,
With your unconstraining voice
Still persuade us to rejoice;

With the farming of a verse
Make a vineyard of the curse,
Sing of human unsuccess
In a rapture of distress;

In the deserts of the heart
Let the healing fountain start,
In the prison of his days
Teach the free man how to praise.

- W. H. Auden, “In Memory of W. B. Yeats”

“Rest in peace. I would say this falls squarely on the “comedy” portion of the genre wheel.”
–Kenny Scagel (via Facebook)

“Doctor Louise was the most influential teacher I had in graduate and undergraduate studies. I was blessed to be an assistant to her and Dr. Donald when I was in grad school. Absolutely one of the greatest, most magnanimous and universally-minded educators I will ever know. New patron saint of teachers.”
–Becky Weber (via Facebook)

“An amazing Grand Dame. New patron saint indeed.”
–Kristy Novinski (via Facebook, in response to Becky Weber)

“She had an amazing mind; she leaves behind a great legacy with the Dallas Institute.”
–MaryAnn Holder (via Twitter)

“I was sure that Dr. Louise was eternal–so sorry to hear of her passing. She had such an impact on so many lives!” 
–Margaret Morris (via Facebook)

“What a loss to our whole community.  My thoughts are with you.”
–Regina Nippert (via e-mail)

“Dear Friends at the Dallas Institute,
“I am both heartbroken to hear this and thankful for the many years of Dr. Cowan’s labors of love toward her students and literature.  She has been one of the biggest inspirations on my life in recent years.
“Our prayers will be with all of you and her family.”
–Ben House (via e-mail)

 “My heart is broken but I am so blessed to have known a great lady that inspired in many of us a true love of literature. She will be missed more than words can tell. My condolences to the family and all those who loved her so much.
–Shirley Dolph (via e-mail)

 “Oh, my… What a force she was!!!”
–Pamela Busbee (via e-mail)

“It was a great and illuminating pleasure to have been touched by the creative genius and brilliance of Dr. Louise S. Cowan. She was likened to a muse and so full of energy. Dr. Louise Cowan, an inspiration to all, will be greatly missed.”
–Imani Pamoja (via e-mail)

“So sad to learn of her passing! Thanks for letting me know.”
–Linda Rayes (via e-mail)

“She will be missed as a beacon of light and reason in our cluttered world. Please accept my heartfelt condolences for your loss as well as a loss for our City of Dallas.”
–Gloria McCall Snead (via e-mail)

“What a beautiful tribute to a greatly beloved teacher and friend. She was richly blessed and was a blessing to so many.”
–Martha and Robert Allday (via e-mail)

“I am truly sad to hear of the transition of Dr. Cowan.  I am honored to have experienced her gift.”
–Nahsechay Dipo (via e-mail)

 “Thank you for the note.  A sad and beautiful day! Good luck with all.”
–Jeff Presberg (via e-mail)

“She will live in my memory as a great and profound teacher. I feel so privileged to have taken classes led by her over the last several years.”
–Gary Looper (via e-mail)

“Sorry very sorry to hear of the loss. I was honored to have been able to meet her and hear her intellect in action. I thank you both, Larry and Claudia, for allowing me to meet this incredible lady.”
–Craig Coleman (via e-mail)

“What an extraordinary life she had…..Thanks so much for letting me know.”
–Lee Cullum (via e-mail)

“My heart breaks as I am reading about the death of Louise Cowan! Such a wonderful, inspiring, broad-minded woman! I’ll will forever be grateful to her, knowing what she has done, what she has sacrificed for, how she has enriched the world of the humanities! There is a hurtful emptiness that remains in place after her. But we’ll try to do our work in her memory and hope for strength to continue to speak about, enjoy, and teach the beauty and the good which she hoped to spread in the world.
Loving regards,”
–Zsuzsanna Ozsvath (via e-mail)

“My condolences to the family, The University of Dallas, where I met Dr. Louise, and the Institute.”
–Monica Acosta-Zamora (via e-mail)

“Her life was a gift to all.”
–Joy Barnhart (via e-mail)

“I thank God for Louise and the impact she continues to have on my life.”
–Charlie Starr, (via e-mail) who submitted the poem below:

 A light has gone out of the world.
And we are the poorer for it.
But while her light shone in the world
we were rich!

“What a loss to humanity. She will be missed.”
–Lucy Hakemack (via e-mail)

“My grateful thank you for the beautiful tribute to Dr. Louise Cowan. Her inspiration and influence is too widespread for its breadth to ever be fully known. I am one of those countless individuals. My sincere condolences to all of her colleagues and associates over the years together at The Institute.”
–Mitzi Walsh (via e-mail)

“I read the email about the sad news of Dr. Cowan’s passing shortly after standing at my mother’s grave in Milwaukee yesterday on the second anniversary of her death. Seer, muse, inspirational spur to higher things–Dr. Cowan was the teaching mother to us all.”
–Mike Crivello (via e-mail)

“My heart sank when I saw your message about Dr. Louise S. Cowan although, I immediately felt as though her life was a ‘Timeless Life,’ she was so vibrant and brilliant.  It was such an HONOR every time I was able to hear her speak.  I loved reading the words she had written.  I admired her values and her spirit.
There is something about an individual who will live on in perpetuity because of the influence exerted upon this life.  She resonated all that was good, especially as it related to educating the citizens who will frame the future in their own way.  It is merely beautiful to know that her influence does not stop with a final breath.  Dr. Louise S. Cowan was able to accomplish so very much in her lifetime.  We are all so blessed to have benefited from those influences.
May every one of us be inspired all the more to carry on the work of educating those who will live beyond us.  As was said of another great leader in our history: “Now, she belongs to the ages.”
Requiescat in pace, Dr. Louise S. Cowan.
–Gordon M. Markley (via e-mail)

“I am so sorry about this and I am so grateful that you included me on this notification.  Although I did not know Dr. Cowan personally very well, I feel so grateful for her leadership and thoughtfulness that lead to the Dallas Institute, the greatness of UD and so much more.
My thoughts and prayers are will you all and her family.”
–Emily Roden (via e-mail)

“I am so sorry to hear about Dr. Louise’s passing. She was a true legend, a giant not only of education but of the greater Dallas community and beyond. What she and her husband did just in helping create the Institute had enough significance and impact to leave a huge legacy – but, obviously, she accomplished so much more than that. What a truly remarkable woman, and such an extraordinarily rich life. My goodness, if we could all be so fortunate, dedicated, talented, and magnanimous!
“Much of what I bring to my classes, especially my tragedy class, is now steeped in her work (yes, that was her genre wheel on the board throughout the fall trimester), and I felt her luminary presence in my own classroom. But I must stress one thing here – the biggest reason why she has been able to impact my work is…you. Indeed, I would not have been gifted the power of her ideas, her visions, her spirit, if not for you. You have done so much to continue her legacy, to share her power and majestic work with so many others. I know how uncomfortable you are with such compliments, especially at this time, but I did want to make sure you knew that my teaching and life have been affected by Dr. Louise not just because of her, but because of you. What a dynamic team you made – and how blessed we have been to experience that power!”
–Andy Mercurio (via e-mail)

“I am very sorry to hear of the death of Dr. Louise. She was so much to all of us. Here is my essay: The Poet as Teacher: The Lamentation of Achilles As Unconcealment. As I was finishing my last edits, I received your email. Of course, I could not help but think of Dr. Louise as the poet and the warrior who revealed so much reality to us. And now we begin our own lamentation at our own epic hero’s death. The world cries out in lamentation. “A whole world of lament arose, in which all nature reappeared.”
My prayers are with you all.”
–Lisa Kenna (via e-mail)

“My heart is broken as the world lost a bright light in a dark world. I was so fortunate to have had the privilege of taking courses and listening to her lectures. I have the Dallas Institute to thank for putting me on a path that would intersect with Dr. Louise.
When she spoke I had to remind myself to take notes as I would be lost in the beauty of her lectures. And I was always amazed how sharp a mind she had even at her advanced age. I was always amazed how she would remember my name when I would stop by the stage to say hello.
She is now with God and at peace. She will be truly missed.
All the best,”
–Tom Demetrion (via e-mail)

“I am heartbroken although I expected this news. I would never be able to express her influence on my life and thinking.”
–Yvonne Janik (via e-mail)

“Thank you for communicating the news of Dr. Cowan’s passing with us.  She was a great lady that touched us all in different ways.”
–Belinda Nowlin (via e-mail)

“Thank you for sending from the Dallas Institute so promptly the beautiful tribute to Dr. Cowan. I know that we are all numb and have sad, empty hearts and tears in our eyes with the passing of Dr. Cowan and that we are grateful for this magnificent, splendid teacher and person—the best of the best—who has blessed our lives immeasurably and profoundly.
–Jo Ann Patton (via e-mail)

“I am at a loss for words.  How blessed we are to be able to say, “I was there when she…; I heard her when…!”  The Cowan family is in my prayers.”
–Onyema Nweze

“No one deserves paradise more.”
–GayMarie Kurdi (via e-mail)

“I grieve, but I also celebrate such a beautiful, meaningful life. There are so many “verities” that she uncovered for so many of us – I am so grateful that we all had a chance to sit at her feet. Thank you for letting us know.
–Deedie Rose (via e-mail)

“Oh, my heart breaks. But I am so very thankful for her life. Such a kind, patient, wise teacher. I cherish her words and her ongoing work in my life and in the lives of countless others who have sat at her feet. Thanks be to God. Prayers for Bainard and the family.”
–Sharon A. Harris (via e-mail)

“I am deeply sorry about Dr. Cowan. No words can describe how sorry I am for our loss. I would like to express my sincere condolences to you and her family. Dr. Cowan was a unique and magnificent intellectual professional and I was lucky to meet her during the last two Summer Institutes as well as long before. She will be highly missed. Gone from our sight, but never from our hearts.
I am thinking about you and sending love.
–María G. González-Gil (via e-mail)

“Nothing I can say or do will be enough.  But Dr. Bainard and you are in my thoughts.  Dr. Cowan’s loss leaves a void in the world, but we will carry on her work with love.
With sadness and sympathy,”
–Laura Hayes (via e-mail)

“Here at Jesuit we’re reminiscing about how instrumental Dr. Louise was in forming us.  In fact, over the weekend, my AP Lit students read the Introduction to The Terrain of Comedy, which we’re discussing today.  In preparation for our study of The Canterbury Tales, we’re viewing various film clips and discussing how they represent the three levels of comedy.  As tears stream down my face, I’m getting through the material but only because of my students’ patience and love.
May you [Claudia] and Larry, whose love for her I know is much more personal, feel my love and prayers.
–Mary Beth Farrell (via e-mail)

“My prayers are with Dr. Cowan’s family, you and Larry. What a wonderful blessing Dr. Louise Cowan’s was to all of us in education. Her mind was amazing and her gifts to us unmatchable. Praying that you will find peace through the Comforter! Sending Love and Light!”
–Diane Miles

“My heart aches. But her vision and her heart will live on in the multitudes she has inspired.”
–Alfonso Correa (via e-mail)

“I’m so sorry for the loss of your teacher, mentor, and dear friend. Please know that I am praying for you as you grieve for Dr. Louise. Words seem weak and empty in a time like this, but I am so grateful for her life and the way that she has affected so many thousands of people through her humble wisdom and obedience to her calling.
Love and prayers,”
–Molly Arveson (via e-mail)

“A remarkable life, an inspiring moral compass for educators everywhere.”
–Dawson Orr (via e-mail)

“A giant has fallen.”
–Doretha Allen (via e-mail)

“The world is a much sadder place. She leaves an indelible mark on all those who witnessed and knew her.”
–Allen Gray (via e-mail)

“So sorry to hear of the passing of Dr. Louise Cowan.  I was fortunate to hear her speak in 2013 at the Tragedy & Comedy Symposium.  What a wonderful inspiration she was and such a great thinker.  Her theories of learning have helped me become a better teacher.  Her lecture along with her courage and perseverance will be remembered as an example of what we all could be.
–Gail Rothstein (via e-mail)

“Muse and mentor for so many, Louise Cowan moved us from the world’s melancholy minor key toward the laughing and lyrical major key of that fair and blessed kingdom where she now resides and sings forever.  May God who hears her song comfort family and friends in our loss.  “And all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.” “
–George E. Cooper (via e-mail)

“Dear, dear, Dr. Cowan. Thank you so very much for your legacy.
–Emily Bush Falke (via Facebook)

“Thank you, Dr. Cowan. Your work made me a better human.”
–Melinda Raiford Buchanan (via Facebook)

“An inspirational scholar and a lovely person.”
–Evelyn Jester (via Facebook)

“Wow we just saw this wonderful lady at the Dallas Institute speak! The room was awed by her inspiring words and at the end everyone stood and gave her a standing ovation. A true legend indeed! ‪#‎truth ‪#‎beauty ‪#‎goodness
–Keith Garcia (via Facebook)

“She was one of the greatest teachers and a wonderful woman who will be greatly missed by everyone who knew her.”
–Donald Nelson (via Dr. Cowan’s obituary)

“Dr. Louise Cowan’s attentiveness to the imagination, proper reading of literature, and her genre wheel theory remain her legacy, along with the University of Dallas. Her impact is immense. I am grateful.”
–Monica [Last name omitted] (via Dr. Cowan’s obituary)

“In loving memories of a wonderful person who will be missed, may she rest in peace, and may your prayers and memories bring you a measure of comfort.”
–Karen [Last name omitted] (via Dr. Cowan’s Obituary)

“Keeping all of the Cowan family in our thoughts and prayers.”
–Cathy Orgeron (via Dr. Cowan’s obituary)

“…I am deeply saddened by her passing. She truly changed my life and teaching career forever with two words–‘Then teach!'”
–Marty Walker (via e-mail)

“I am so sorry to learn of Dr. Cowan’s death. What a giant she was! What a legacy she leaves behind.” 
–Diane Ravitch (via e-mail)

“I’m so glad I came to the Education Forum in September and heard her speak.  I first met the Cowans when I attended a principals’ institute–probably in 1984 or 85–at the University of Dallas.  I learned a lot there, and have continued to admire them and be challenged by their thinking.  What a gift they have been to Dallas!”
–Jane Aten (via e-mail)

“No one changed my life more with such sustained generosity as did Louise. Studying with her and learning most broadly the power of the poetic imagination put me on a life long path that I and so many others will preserve and deepen. And she brought us all together. What a gift you all are!
Much love,”
–Dennis Slattery (via e-mail)

“Sorrow is deep… We were all so fortunate to have her in our lives…. Her legacy will be long lasting because of all of you. “Memory is the master of death; the chink in his armor of conceit” –the Kings Horseman.”
–Russell Bellamy (via e-mail)

“Louise was such an important person to Sandy and me when we came to UD to study in 1972 in the Institute of Philosophic Studies. She also arranged for us to be part of the semester abroad in Rome program for two years. We are so grateful.”
–Dennis P. Slattery (via the Louise S. Cowan Memorial Fund)

“In other phrasing, Carolyn Gordon once suggested Louise Cowan was the smartest woman on the planet (again, my wording). I have no doubt.”
–Charlie Starr (via the Louise S. Cowan Memorial Fund)

“Louise’s legacy lives on with all those she taught. It heartens me that on the day she passed, my 17 year old son was learning from her through one of her most dedicated pupils. I’m certain she is smiling.” 
–Elise Stewart (via the Louise S. Cowan Memorial Fund)

“Louise was the true spirit of the humanities, that will never die.” 
–Frederick Turner (via the Louise S. Cowan Memorial Fund)

“Thou sawest, in thine old singing season, sister, 
Secrets and sorrows unbeheld by us.”
–Mary Vernon (via the Louise S. Cowan Memorial Fund)

“This doesn’t reflect the incredible value of what I learned in her classes, but it’s a salute to her memory as a true Master Teacher.” 
–Gary Looper (via the Louise S. Cowan Memorial Fund)

“What a gift she had for making others feel gifted. May she rest in well-deserved peace.” 
–Linda Franklin (via the Louise S. Cowan Memorial Fund)

“I am so grateful for the way she devoted herself to teaching teachers.” 
–Donna S. McBride (via the Louise S. Cowan Memorial Fund)

“With great appreciation for Dr. Louise and the Institute.”
–Lynn Knowles (via the Louise S. Cowan Memorial Fund)

“She was so special to me.” 
Eleanor Krebs (via the Louise S. Cowan Memorial Fund)

“With tears of sorrow and of joy.”
–Alyssan Barnes (via the Louise S. Cowan Memorial Fund)

“This small token is a gesture of profound gratitude.” 
–GayMarie Kurdi (via the Louise S. Cowan Memorial Fund)

“This is a token donation in honor of Dr. Louise Cowan. I wish I could donate more.” 
–Diana Senechal (via the Louise S. Cowan Memorial Fund)

“In gratitude for her life and her inspiration and her moral authority.”
–Mike McWilliams (via the Louise S. Cowan Memorial Fund)

“Please offer my donation in memory and in honor of Dr. Louise Cowan, a magnificent teacher and person.” 
–Jo Ann Patton (via the Louise S. Cowan Memorial Fund)

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