Dr. Linda Cowan, soprano, holds degrees in music education from Indiana U of Pennsylvania, and master’s and doctorate degrees in performance from Indiana State U and Rutgers U. She is an associate professor in music at West Liberty U, where she serves as a Nu Theta advisor, as well as advisor to Alpha Chi, a national honorary scholarship society. She is the West Virginia Governor for the National Association of Teachers of Singing, and most recently served as vocal master teacher at the West Virginia Governor’s School for the Arts in the summers of 2008–2010. She also presents concerts and master classes.
—Photo by Jared Thompson
I am a Chi Omega
—by Dr. Linda Cowan, Nu Theta/West Liberty U
The 24–7 Gig
My life as a college music professor has been so fulfilling
and rewarding. Anyone involved with music understands
that it is not your job, it is your life’s work, and in my life’s
work I strive to uphold the purposes of Chi Omega. Community
service, career development, scholarship, and
participation in campus activities are all required to perform
my job well.
I came to Chi Omega not as an undergraduate, but much
later, as a special initiate. I thank the ladies of Nu Theta
who arranged my initiation in 2006. What a unique gift!
As I grew to learn about Chi Omega, I discovered this
amazing Fraternity, and I fell in love with being a loyal
and proud member.
Chi Omega’s purposes define my life as a college professor.
In music, because you work so closely together, you
form lasting friendships that go beyond the classroom.
Through private voice lessons, opera and musical theater
workshops, and diction classes, I really get to know my
students. When I directed West Liberty’s production of
Seussical, there were five Chi Omega Sisters in leading
roles! In my role as a chapter advisor, I am full of admiration
for the women I have counseled and taught and I
am full of hope and expectation for the future that these
women are creating.
Living a musician’s life means a lot of time management—
something that for me takes a lot of extra energy. But being
a musician, educator, and a Chi Omega is a 24–7 gig.
You get used to the pace. The concept of “weekend” is foreign
to me. On Sundays I go from singing in the church choir, to university concerts, extra lessons, and meetings
in the afternoon to Chi Omega meetings at night. What’s
a day of rest? I think sometimes my car should be called
the Nissan “flourish!”
I’ll never forget the time I was wearing my Chi Omega
badge and, as master teacher in vocal music, doing auditions
for Governor’s School for the Arts. As I entered the
audition room to prepare, a man held the door open for
me, saying, “I’d always hold the door for a Chi Omega gal.”
I wasn’t expecting the recognition that comes from being
a Chi Omega.
My students also know I’m passionate about Chi Omega
and give me owl-themed gifts. One student gave me an
owl necklace as thanks for summer voice lessons.
Since becoming a Chi Omega, I have found that the bonds
of sisterhood are vitally important to a balanced life. Before
Chi Omega, I undervalued my female friendships. I
now make the time to celebrate them in my life. This is the
most important lesson I’ve learned through Chi Omega.
It’s a daily delicate balance and I don’t pretend to get it
right all the time. But as I look back, some of my fondest
memories involve Chi Omega, mostly advising students
and making lifelong friendships.
I am so proud of the work we do, and I will keep striving
to live the purpose-filled life.