Published 06/27/16


Steven and Lily Cowen always make time to meet the students who receive their scholarships. Here, they're shown with Bulldog football player Taylor Janoskie '16.

Steven '69 and Lily Cowen: Bryant is close to their hearts

J. Steven Cowen ’69 always knew he had received a first-rate education at Bryant, but when he was pursuing his MBA he realized how favorably it compared to other schools. “While in study groups with other students, I would often say ‘Wait a minute - you didn’t learn this in undergraduate studies?’  With my superior education from Bryant, my MBA studies were, as they should be, an amplification and deeper understanding of the investment, economic and financial fields,” he says.

Though separated from Bryant by years and miles, the San Diego, CA, resident uses technology and travel to continue to cultivate his Bryant connection. Cowen takes an active role in the Bryant community by supporting recruiting efforts, being a Bryant leadership donor, mentoring students, and cheering on the Bulldog athletic teams. 

“Once you graduate from Bryant, it becomes a part of you,” he says. “I have watched the University and its reputation grow, and I wanted to be a part of developing the Bryant tradition.”


Though it may seem difficult to support Bryant from California, Cowen and his wife, Lily, have been able to do it easily, he says. “She supports my passion for Bryant, and in turn, I support her dedication to the protection, humane treatment, and preservation of many types of animals, including three rescued kitties who enjoy a life of luxury at our home.”

“Once you graduate from Bryant, it becomes a part of you. I have watched the University and its reputation grow, and I wanted to be a part of developing the Bryant tradition.”

The founder of Cowen & Associates, a financial planning firm, was approached by Bryant when the University was starting a concentration in financial services about 17 years ago. He was happy to provide his expertise, which in addition to his MBA includes a master’s degree in financial and tax planning. He most enjoys the opportunity to interact with students.

“I am so impressed each time I talk with them,” he says. “Bryant students are smart, mature, and passionate, and it gives me great pride to offer them my mentorship and advice.” He serves on the Archway Investment Fund’s board and makes an effort to speak to the classes whenever he is on campus.


Despite the distance, Cowen enthusiastically supports the University’s many programs.  “I am very pleased with the direction and progress of the University,” he says. “I want to use my experience and knowledge to help continue the momentum.”

In April 2009, Cowen received the Nelson Gulski Service Award for his record of exemplary and longstanding volunteer service to the University. Since then, he has continued his dedication to Bryant. Always an athlete, he has donated directly to the football and baseball teams, and this summer, he hosted a patio party at his home, which included three local Bulldogs and Coach Pressler, to celebrate the Bryant men’s lacrosse team’s successful season.

Cowen is fond of pointing out that at Bryant, the student-athletes have an outstanding graduation rate. “I like to brag that at Bryant, not only do we have student-athletes graduating cum laude, such as football player Taylor Janoskie ’16, but we have student-athletes such as lacrosse player Kyle Mummau ’17 who tutor other, non-athlete students. At most other colleges, it’s non-athlete students tutoring the athletes!”


In addition to supporting athletics, Steven and Lily have participated in Expanding the World of Opportunity: The Campaign for Bryant’s Bold Future with a three-part gift: A scholarship, an endowment, and a bequest. They support an annual scholarship and are building an endowment to sustain it in perpetuity. In addition, they have included a bequest to Bryant and are members of the 1863 Society. Through their unending support and devotion, the Cowens have ensured their Bryant legacy.