UVA Darden Honors Late Alumnus’ Life of Service

01 November 2019

By Jay Hodgkins

Brian Cowan (MBA ’91) was a 20-year U.S. Navy veteran, a first-generation college graduate, a husband, a father, a teacher, a small-business owner and a graduate of the University of Virginia Darden School of Business.

According to his wife, Darden classmate Connie Hallquist (MBA ’91), across everything he did, Cowan “demonstrated a lifetime of service.”

Connie Halquist and daughter Anna

Hallquist and her and Cowan’s daughter, Anna

Cowan died earlier this year at age 61, and Darden and its Alumni Association Board of Directors honored his incredible service to the School with the 2019 Harry N. Lewis Distinguished Service Award. The high honor is bestowed on an alumni volunteer leader who has dedicated exceptional, longtime volunteer service to the School, a class or an alumni chapter, as well as demonstrated passionate and creative commitment to engaging alumni in the ongoing life of the School.

“Brian Cowan was a true friend to Darden,” Darden School Foundation President Michael Woodfolk (TEP ’05) said at the School’s annual fall awards ceremony for alumni volunteers. “He was simply known as the glue that kept that class together.”

Cowan served as class president and then class agent, taught and helped develop courses for small business for Darden Executive Education and was an integral part of the 2005 launch of the Darden Executive MBA program. Woodfolk noted that he attended every recruiting session leading to the launch of the Executive MBA program and that his company sponsored students to attend.

“Most importantly, Brian was a remarkable man. Always positive. Always engaged. Always moving toward a goal. A leader,” Woodfolk said.

Hallquist, with her and Cowan’s daughter Anna in attendance, received the award on her husband’s behalf after a long standing ovation at the awards ceremony.

“Thank you for this incredible recognition of our classmate and my husband,” Hallquist said. “Brian was incredibly devoted to the Darden School. He always made it his singular goal to get the highest class participation rate.”

While Hallquist said her husband will be missed by many, she was “convinced that he lived more and served more in his 61 years than most people who live to be 100.”

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business delivers the world’s best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global and responsible leaders through its MBA, Ph.D., MSBA and Executive Education programs. Darden’s top-ranked faculty is renowned for teaching excellence and advances practical business knowledge through research. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


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Darden School of Business
University of Virginia