North Central College - Naperville, IL

North Central College tribute to celebrate legacy of Mary Lou Cowlishaw

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Contact: Ted Slowik, Director of PR and Media Relations, 630-637-5307,

Oct. 4, 2010—North Central College and Hear Us!, an organization dedicated to helping homeless women and children, will pay tribute to the legacy of the late Mary Lou Cowlishaw.

The event starting at 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29, in the lobby of Madden Theatre at the Fine Arts Center, will begin with a reception commemorating Cowlishaw and continue with a screening of the documentary “On the Edge,” a film about how families deal with homelessness. Admission is free.

Cowlishaw, who died June 23 at age 78, 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 an elementary school in Naperville is named, Cowlishaw served on the faculty of North Central College as an adjunct professor of education for nearly a decade.

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

Hear Us!, co-sponsor of the Oct. 29 event, seeks to raise awareness about the issue of children facing homelessness in the United States. Hear Us! will mark its fifth anniversary as an organization during the event. Visit to learn more about the group.

The new, 60-minute film “On the Edge” tells the stories of seven women battling homelessness as they search for stability amidst their struggles. The film is produced by Hear Us! President Diane Nilan and directed by Laura Vazquez, an associate professor of media studies at Northern Illinois University.

North Central College invites all members of the community to take part in remembering Cowlishaw and keeping alive her passion of battling youth homelessness.

For more information about the event, contact Richard Guzman, North Central College professor of English, at 630-637-5280 or