Bellarmine University says president dies at age 71

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) – Bellarmine University has announced the death of its president, Dr. Joseph J. McGowan.

The university said in a statement that McGowan, who became Bellarmine’s third president in 1990, died Monday after an illness. He was 71.

The statement said the school grew “significantly” under McGowan’s leadership, changing its name from Bellarmine College to Bellarmine University in 2000.

Six years later, McGowan and Bellarmine’s Board of Trustees embarked on a plan to improve the institution by transforming the campus in a variety of ways including adding new schools, new majors and new buildings.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fisher called McGowan a “visionary leader who took Bellarmine from college to university, from a local learning institution to an international destination for innovation and knowledge.”