In Memoriam

Apr 9, 2021

A. Scott McGowan

In Memoriam: A. Scott McGowan


A. Scott McGowan, an ACA leader who garnered an international, national, regional and local reputation for scholarship and service to the counseling profession, passed away on March 4.

McGowan served as longtime chair and faculty member at the Long Island University C.W. Post Campus. As chair, he led the university’s Counseling and Development Department in the process to become accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). McGowan also founded the C.W. Post, Brentwood, Rockland and West Point chapters of Chi Sigma Iota, the national honor society for the counseling profession.


McGowan, a licensed mental health counselor and a certified school counselor, was educated at Fordham University (Ph.D., P.D. and M.S.), Niagara University (M.A.) and the University of Scranton (B.S.). He previously worked as a school counselor in Yonkers, New York where he also served as chair of the counseling department. McGowan also worked as head counselor in an after-school program for disadvantaged youth.

McGowan’s many scholarly contributions included more than 240 published works in refereed journals, chapters in scholarly books, and in various media outlets, most notably in educational television. He was the moderator/creator of three educational and counseling television series: “The Counseling Forum,” “The Superintendent’s Forum,” and “American College Focus.” The latter series appeared on the Public Broadcasting System (PBS). Over a period of 18 years, he served as editor of The Journal for the Professional Counselor, The Journal of Humanistic Counseling, Education and Development, and most notably as the editor for two terms of the Journal of Counseling & Development, the flagship journal of the American Counseling Association.

McGowan served as an elected member of the ACA Governing Council; was a past president of the Counseling Association for Humanistic Education and Development (C-AHEAD); past vice president for public relations for the New York Counseling Association (NYCA); past president of the Westchester/Putnam/Rockland Counseling Association; and the NYCA chair/representative to the North Atlantic Region of ACA.

In 2010, McGowan was named an ACA Fellow. Throughout his long career he received many honors and awards including ACA’s Hitchcock Distinguished Professional Service Award (in 1998); NYCA Patterson Award for Distinguished Professional Services and Contributions to the Counseling Profession; C-AHEAD’s Hollis Publication Award; David Newton Award for Excellence in Teaching (Long Island University’s most prestigious award for instructional excellence); Outstanding Faculty Award from the U.S. Military Academy, West Point; University of Scranton O’Hara Alumni Award; and the Fordham University, College of Education and Information Sciences Alumni Achievement Award. A former U.S. Army officer, he was awarded the U.S. Army Commendation Medal for Meritorious Service.

Excerpted and lightly edited with permission from the Long Island University, C.W. Post Campus, College of Education and Information Sciences Research and Practice newsletter.




Thoughts from Sunny Vassos, past president of the Counseling Association for Humanistic Education and Development and the New York Counseling Association:

Dr. Scott McGowan, called Scotty by everyone, was a unique and special person. Maybe it was Scotty's love of his Irish roots that was the genetic foundation of his personality; his love of song, his Irish family, and his perpetual good humor was always present.

Yes, Scotty was department chair of counseling at Long Island University; president of so many ACA-affiliated professional groups; involved for many years in the government of ACA’s New York state branch; recipient of honors and awards too numerous to list; and gave energy, expertise and support to his home base of New York’s Westchester County Counseling Association. But it was Scotty's "never say no” attitude and caring for, valuing and respecting all those he encountered and his willingness to become involved when a presenting need was encountered that identifies his value. This is what truly marks Scotty as a major loss to all of us both professionals and non-professionals alike. The world needs more Scott McGowans.




Thoughts from Christine Moll, past president of the Association for Adult Development and Aging and a past member of the ACA Governing Council:

To know Scott, one quickly realized that so much of him was not possible without the love of his life, his wife Marian, and their son Andrew. I always enjoyed quality time with Scotty at ACA-related meetings and conferences, but I genuinely valued time with Marian and Scott at their home in Yonkers. I would visit with a manuscript in need of Scott’s editing expertise. We would enjoy one another’s company Friday and Saturday evenings, work hard on the manuscript Saturday morning and afternoon, and after mass and breakfast on Sunday, I would board the Amtrak train to Buffalo – home.

If you knew Scott, you knew you had a “cheerleader” in your corner. Scott encouraged, promoted and mentored those he adopted under his wings. Many ACA journal editors today learned the “ropes” from working with Dr. McGowan as members of his editorial boards or as junior editors. His advice and wisdom offered a unique insight to teaching, writing and publishing that few others could offer an emerging academic writer.

One of Scott’s favorite Irish songs/hymns was “Oh Danny Boy.” The third verse goes:

“But when ye come, and all the flowers are dying

If I am dead, as dead I well may be

Ye'll come and find the place where I am lying

And kneel and say an Ave there for me.”


Scott always asked that we say “an Ave” for him when appropriate. Scott, indeed we say “Ave” and we thank our Creator for your presence in our lives.




Thoughts from David Kaplan, past president of the American Counseling Association and retired ACA chief professional officer:

One could spend a long time discussing the merits and contributions of my friend Scotty McGowan. I would like to memorialize what I consider Scott’s greatest professional achievement: serving as editor of juried counseling journals for a span of eighteen years. This is such a remarkable achievement -and a record as far as I know - that I am going to repeat it: Dr. Scott McGowan was the editor of juried counseling journals for a span of eighteen years. This includes six years (two terms) as editor of the flagship journal for our profession, the Journal of Counseling & Development as well as editorships of The Journal of Humanistic Education and Development and the Journal for the Professional Counselor.

Holding a position as editor of a major juried journal is the most difficult leadership position that one can have in the counseling profession. It is a 24/7 job and one must be willing to sacrifice most evenings and weekends coordinating the review process with the editorial board and section editors, reviewing manuscripts and making final decisions, helping authors to revise and polish manuscripts, and notifying authors of acceptance or rejection. With a flagship journal such as JCD, dozens of manuscripts are coming in on a regular basis. There is an extreme amount of work and stress, as there is nothing like having to deal with individuals whose manuscript has been rejected.

With this work, however, comes the ability to advance the profession. An editor of a major journal can solicit and shape the research that allows a profession to advance. Scotty McGowan did that par excellence during his eighteen-year tenure; shaping the growth and advancement of the counseling profession as much as anyone during his run. Thank you, my friend, for your contributions and your fellowship.



Read more at A. Scott McGowan’s obituary here.



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