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Howard A. Mowen

Feb. 5, 2009

Dr. Howard A. Mowen, professor emeritus of history at Western Michigan University, died Jan. 18. He was 86.

Mowen, an accomplished scholar in Modern European and German history, joined the WMU faculty in 1949 and retired in 1982 after 32-1/2 years of service.

He was listed in "Outstanding Educators in America" in 1970, was awarded a Ford Foundation Fellowship to travel and lecture in Europe in 1951-52, and received a Teaching Excellence Award from the WMU Alumni Association in 1969.

Mowen served on the WMU Faculty Senate for several years and on various departmental committees. An early advocate of internationalizing the curriculum, he was instrumental in helping the University to develop its on-campus "World Affairs Week" and "Religious Emphasis Week" and build its overseas partnerships and study programs.

In addition, Mowen directed WMU's Study in Britain program at Oxford University in fall 1967, co-directed the Oxford Social Studies seminars there during the summers of 1960, 1966 and 1969, and helped develop a student exchange program at the Padagogische Hochschule (University of Education) in Berlin. He also taught at the latter university in 1963-64 as well as lectured at the Academy of Science in Warsaw, Poland, in 1964 at the invitation of that school.

Mowen served in Africa and Europe during WWII from 1942 to 1945, attached to both the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division and 325th Glider Infantry Regiment. He earned numerous medals and commendations and fought in some of the biggest operations of the war, including at Anzio, Ardennes, Salerno, Sicily, Normandy and Rhineland.

Mindful of history, Mowen donated Nazi German and Allies publications, photographs and ephemera to WMU's Waldo Library. Many of these materials are extremely rare because most Nazi propaganda was burned during the Denazification Movement during Germany's Post-War Reconstruction or has ended up with collectors rather than libraries.

The Ohio, native earned a bachelor's degree from Baldwin-Wallace College in 1946, and master's and doctoral degrees from Case Western Reserve University in 1947 and 1955, respectively.

Mowen lived in San Francisco for 14 years after retiring, but returned to Kalamazoo in 1999.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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