Remembering Jeanne McGowan


Photo courtesy of the Georgia Southern Counseling Center

Lila Miller, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Students, faculty, and staff of the Armstrong campus mourn the loss of Director of Counseling, Jeanne McGowan, who passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021.

McGowan was born and raised in Scranton, Pennsylvania. She received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Marywood University and her Master’s degree in Social Work from Widener University.

Over the years, McGowan worked in several mental health settings for the community before returning to Higher Education for the next six years to serve as the Director of Counseling Services at Gwynedd Mercy College. 

McGowan made her move to Savannah in 2015, after accepting the position of Counseling Center Director of Armstrong Atlantic State University. McGowan had been instrumental in her work throughout the consolidation of Armstrong State University and Georgia Southern University. Thanks to McGowan, the counseling center remained active and assisted students as the universities merged into the GSU Armstrong campus today. 

“Jeanne was an exceptional part of the Armstrong Counseling Center. Not only was she available for her specific student clients, she put forth projects to enhance the lives of the campus community. Jeanne was kind, creative, and hopeful. She will be dearly missed by all those whose lives she’s impacted,“ said Nora Cook, recent GSU graduate and alumnus. 

While McGowan served the GSU community, she also devoted her time and energy to building her skills as a counselor. She received multiple awards for her campus collaborations and work in the field of college student mental health, and also became a certified trainer for Applied Suicide Intervention Skills (ASIST). McGowan also founded and oversaw the peer education team, Peers Educating Peers (PEP) on campus. 

McGowan was also furthering her education and working towards earning her Doctorate of Education degree in Higher Education Administration. She had planned to defend her dissertation in May of 2021.

The Armstrong Counseling Center remembers McGowan as, “a fun-loving spirit who lit up every room she walked into. She loved travel (most traveling to Iceland to see the Northern Lights), music (prior to COVID she was an ardent attendee of Bonnaroo), the beach and her huge family (Jeanne leaves 9 siblings and 20 nieces and nephews),” the Center reported.

“”[Jeanne was] The best counselor I have ever had… You were there for me and walked with me through my hardest times… Your kindness and encouragement made it possible for me to talk about the darkest times in my life… You are awesome and have given me hope for my future,” wrote one of McGowan’s counseling clients.

McGowan will be missed by the GSU community but will remain in the hearts and minds of everyone who loved her. If you or someone you know is struggling with grief or mental health, please contact the Armstrong CARES Counseling Center at (912) 344-2529.