Cathy Cowan Award Winner Announced


Kim Watkins, Editor-In-Chief

In the 12th year since its inception, Southwest Minnesota State University staff, students, faculty, administrators and community members have nominated Dr. James Zarzana as the 2014 Cowan Award winner.

The award is named in honor of Cathy Cowan, an SMSU professor of Psychology, who passed away in 2001. The award was created shortly after, with the first recipient chosen in 2003, to honor her memory as well as reward a current faculty or staff member who has given at least five years of service and has shown dedication to both the school and the region.

“I am humbled by it. I am touched [that the] nominating team [took] the time and effort. It’s an honor to be recognized in that group [of other winners],” said Dr. Zarzana, sharing his thoughts on receiving the award.

Dr. Zarzana, professor of English, has dedicated over 25 years at SMSU following his education at Saint Mary’s College of California, Sacramento State University and the University of Notre Dame. Some of his roles and accomplishments during that time have included heading the department of English for five years, being the first faculty advisor for the Advising Center, helping as a faculty coordinator for the conversion from the quarter system to the semester system and more.

Moving forward, Dr. Zarzana plans to transition in a 3-year phase retirement where he will eventually continue to write full time (he is currently working on The Marsco Saga, a science-fiction series). His plans also include staying in the community of Marshall where he shares that he will “always be involved with SMSU.”