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John Cowles, Jr. 1930-2012


(March 18, 2012)

Our community, city, and state are marking the passing of
John Cowles, Jr., who died over the weekend after a long battle with
cancer. He was surrounded by family. Department Chair Carl Flink noted
that Cowles was "an enormous patron of the Department of Theatre Arts and
Dance and a key figure in the performing arts landscape of Minnesota in
which it is embedded. It could be argued that the Guthrie Theater would
not exist without his critical efforts to recruit Sir Tyrone Guthrie to a
small upper midwest urban area in the 1960s. Our dance program has reached
the level of national prestige it now holds almost solely based on the
long-time and sustainable support of both John and Sage Cowles in terms of
the Cowles Guest Artist Chair, the Barker and endowed professorships. He
was simply one of the finest human beings I have ever had the privilege to
know in my life.

"His obituary (http://www.startribune.com/local/143100356.html) illustrates
that Cowles was a model of humble and quiet leadership and dedication to
our Minnesota community and beyond. During the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, he
was one of the key builders of the rise of Minnesota as a center for equal
justice, the arts and thoughtful politics. He and his life partner Sage
continued that leadership up to his passing as represented most publicly by
the opening of the Cowles Center for Dance & the Performing Arts downtown
in fall 2011."


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