Mary Lou and Wayne Cowlishaw

Mary Lou and Wayne Cowlishaw

Mary Lou Cowlishaw served the public in many ways throughout her life. She worked for more than a decade as a journalist for The Naperville Sun newspaper and later represented the 41st District for 20 years in the Illinois Legislature. A lifelong advocate for education for whom the elementary school in Naperville is named, the Mary Lou Cowlishaw Elementary School. Cowlishaw served on the faculty of North Central College as an adjunct professor of education for nearly a decade.

“Mary Lou was passionate not only about improving the quality of public education but access to it for all students,” says Wayne Cowlishaw, her husband of 56 years.

Another great passion Mary Lou Cowlishaw pursued during her life was advocacy for people who are homeless. While a member of the Illinois Legislature, Mary Lou played a leading role in passing legislation aimed at helping homeless students.

Mary Lou and Wayne Cowlishaw established the endowed scholarship, John Cowlishaw Memorial Scholarship for Music at North Central College in memory of their son, John Miller Cowlishaw ’95.