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Former Librarian McGowan Dies at Age 79

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February 14, 2006

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Former Northwestern University Librarian John P. McGowan, 79, died Feb. 4 at his home in Northfield, Ill., after a long illness.

Services were held Feb. 10 at Sts. Faith, Hope and Charity in Winnetka, and burial was at Sacred Heart Cemetery in Northbrook.

Mr. McGowan, who retired in 1992 after 20 years as University Librarian, was known for his work in modernizing the library from a traditional repository of books into a resource utilizing automation and information technology. For that work he was named the 1989 Academic Librarian of the Year by the Association of College and Research Librarians.

Mr. McGowan joined Northwestern in 1956 as librarian of the University’s Technological Institute after serving five years as librarian of the New York University College of Engineering.

He served as library director at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia from 1959 to 1966. He returned to Northwestern as associate university librarian and became University Librarian in 1971. In 1987 Mr. McGowan was named the first Charles Deering McCormick Distinguished Chair of Research Librarianship.

Mr. McGowan received a bachelor’s degree in English from Hunter College in New York City and a master’s degree in library science from Columbia University. While on the library staff at New York University, he studied for a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering, which he received in 1966.

Mr. McGowan is survived by his wife, Eileen; two sons, John T. and Malcolm; three daughters, Carol Place, Joanne McGowan  and Deirdre McKechnie; and 15 grandchildren.

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