Howard Payne University memorialized alumnus Gordon Cowden -- a victim of the Aurora, Colo., movie theater shooting -- during halftime of the San Antonio Spurs Faith and Family Night game on Saturday, which would have been his 52nd birthday. The university presented a gift to his family and announced the establishment of a $60,000 HPU presidential scholarship in his name.
In addition to the tribute to the Cowden family, Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president, was named honorary co-captain of the Spurs. The university’s Winds of Triumph ensemble and Clay Tyner, a 2011 HPU graduate, and his band played pre-game. Several HPU alumni and prospective students were also in attendance.
Cowden, a 1984 graduate of the university, was the oldest killed in the Colorado tragedy on July 20. Dr. Ellis presented Cowden’s family and friends with a replica of the “Do As I Have Done” statue that stands on the HPU grounds and announced the establishment of a $60,000 Gordon Ware Cowden Presidential Scholarship to be given to a selected student in Cowden’s name.
According to his family, Cowden’s last words were of his love for his daughters who were attending the movie with him.
“His faith and courage in his final moments are inspirational to us all,” said Dr. Ellis. “HPU is blessed to be associated with a man such as Gordon Cowden.”