Local leaders expressed condolences after the death of Bellarmine University’s president Dr. Joseph J. McGowan, who died March 1 after an illness.
Louisville Metro Mayor Greg Fischer called McGowan a “visionary leader who took Bellarmine from college to university, from a local learning institution to an international destination for innovation and knowledge.”
“He led a physical and educational transformation on campus that challenged his staff, faculty and students to set high goals and achieve them. My thoughts and prayers are with the McGowan family, and the entire Bellarmine community. Jay will be sorely missed,” said Fischer.
Kentucky’s governor Matt Bevin said in a statement on Twitter that McGowan’s “leadership was transformative.”
“The passing of Dr. McGowan is a tremendous loss to Bellarmine, to the commonwealth and higher education,” said Bevin.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sent his condolences in a statement from the nation’s capital.
“I am so sorry to hear of the tragic death of my friend Dr. Joseph McGowan. To put it plainly, Bellarmine University would not be the institution it is today without Dr. McGowan’s vision and leadership,” said McConnell.
U.S. Congressman John Yarmuth described McGowan as “brilliant, charming, hilarious and always exciting to be around.”
“He leaves behind a legacy embodied in the campus he helped transform … but his legacy, both to Bellarmine and Louisville, goes even deeper,” said Yarmuth. “Jay helped instill a commitment to the kinds of successful student-faculty relationships that set the university apart and make our community stronger. He never stopped working to expand what his school could offer, growing the university’s study abroad program and directly linking Louisville to classrooms around the world.
“His embrace of technology and innovative teaching methods has made it possible for students in Louisville to actively participate in the projects and programs that shrink our world and broaden our horizons. His is truly a legacy that will benefit our community for generations.”