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Marjorie F. Cowen

Mon, 12/23/2019 - 18:22

Marjorie F. Cowen, a former administrator at Tulane University, died on Dec. 16 in New Orleans of complications from a fall. The East Hampton summer resident was 77.

After graduating from Ursuline College in Pepper Pike, Ohio, and earning a master’s degree in business administration from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, she began a 16-year career as an administrator and development officer at Case Western.

During that time, she met Scott S. Cowen, the man who would become her husband of 30 years. He survives her. An earlier marriage to Dr. Aaron Feldman had ended in divorce.

When her husband became president of Tulane, the couple moved to New Orleans, and Ms. Cowen worked as a senior adviser for external affairs at the university. She frequently welcomed students and members of the greater New Orleans community into the president’s house, and, upon her retirement in 2014, she was bestowed with the title first lady emerita.

She was known for her graciousness, joie de vivre, and sense of humor, her family said, and had often served as a mentor.

Ms. Cowen was on the boards of several civic and Jewish organizations, including the regional chapter of the Anti-Defamation League, and she received the Hannah G. Solomon Award, which is given to those who change the lives of others, from the National Council of Jewish Women in New Orleans. 

She was born on Dec. 17, 1941, in Milwaukee to Jack Silbermann and the former Rhea Mendelson, and grew up there and in Whitefish Bay, Wis.

In addition to her husband, Ms. Cowen is survived by a son, Tommy Feldman of Boulder, Colo., and three daughters, Lisa Feldman of Emeryville, Calif., Karen Feldman of Berkeley, Calif., and Amanda Cowen Russell of Charlottesville, Va. A brother, Jim Silbermann of Mequon, Wis., and five grandchildren also survive.

Memorial services will be held in New Orleans and Cleveland in early 2020. The family has suggested donations to the Marjorie F. Cowen Funds at the Office of Advancement Services, Case Western Reserve University, 10900 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44106, and Tulane University, P.O. Box 61075, New Orleans, La. 70161. Donors should specify the funds on their checks.


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