In the mid-80s, Don Gowan was my Dean and Boy's Lacrosse Coach at Kent School. He taught me lessons that helped shape my career as an educator and a school leader.
I founded Gowan Group primarily because I feel schools need our services but also because his legacy should live on in the many schools across the country. Through Gowan Group, his influence will continue to help schools further their mission. Don Gowan was about teaching and molding students and allowing his students to grow into the best adults they could become. Don graduated Kent School in 1966 and received the prestigious Morehead Scholar Award to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After being a stalwart basketball captain at Kent for two years, Don made the Freshman team at UNC as a walk-on, a rare feat for any player. In 1970 he took a teaching assignment at Kent School as a history teacher and Assistant Dean of Boys. This began his 38-year career at Kent shaping the lives of thousands of students. I was lucky to be among them.
A caring and thoughtful man, Don was a gentle soul. As a Dean of Boys, he was often in the position of being the disciplinarian. He had the uncanny ability to impose punishment on a boy in an incredibly supportive manner. When Don Gowan punished boys, they knew they would grow from the experience and be a better young man because of it. Whether it was on the lacrosse or football field, the basketball court, the classroom or the Dean’s office, Don always found a way in which to make us better, stronger men. He was our father away from home and we knew he felt the same way about us.
In April of 2008 Don died suddenly while jogging nearby the Kent School campus. He left so many of us wanting more of him and so many students whom he had not yet met who would have grown to love him. He is survived by his lovely wife, George Ann, and his daughter and son Anna and Andrew. His oldest son, Don III, was an associate admissions Director at Canterbury School and the Varsity Basketball coach. Don III died suddenly in 2012.
Don Gowan stood for integrity, honor, fair play, respect and innovation. Gowan Group emulates him in these ways. As we continue to consult with schools on strategic enrollment management and help them further their mission, it is our hope that Don’s memory helps guide each one of us in the good work we all do for schools and the many students who attend them.