Marie Cowan, dean of the School of Nursing, dies at 69

Chancellor Gene Block issued this statement today to the UCLA campus community:

I am so sorry to have to report that a dear member of our UCLA family, Marie Cowan, dean of the School of Nursing, passed away this morning, after a long battle with cancer. Her family was with her when she died.

Marie joined UCLA in 1997 and quickly demonstrated strong and innovative leadership. She spearheaded the re-opening of our undergraduate nursing program, recruited more than 20 new faculty members, collaborated with faculty to design an entry-level master’s program for graduates of other disciplines and established a bioscience curriculum for the doctoral program in nursing. Under her leadership, the School of Nursing returned to top-ten status nationally.

Marie was deeply committed to public health and was considered an extraordinary role model within the nursing profession, receiving the Living Legend Award from the American Academy of Nursing in 2007. Her own research on cardiovascular science had been funded by the National Institutes of Health since 1977.

“Marie loved UCLA and the School of Nursing,” said Acting Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Scott Waugh. “She gave so much to our community, and I am sure we will miss her grace and leadership.”

Marie had announced that she would retire in June 2008 and, after a one-year sabbatical, would return to teach, mentor faculty and continue her research.

Our thoughts are with her family and friends as we mourn our own loss of a beloved teacher, mentor, leader, colleague and friend. Marie leaves a rich legacy through which her vision, innovation, leadership and commitment to public health will live on.

Let us reach out and comfort one another as we remember how brightly Marie’s light has shown on us and our campus.


Gene D. Block

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