PROVO, Utah (ABC 4 News) - The most senior religion professor at Brigham Young University is totally blind.
Richard Cowan started teaching 52-years-ago when he was 27-years-old. “I knew that I was on trial. It was obvious the powers that be had never dealt with a blind professor,” said Cowan.
Students say it can be hard to realize Cowan is blind. “He is talking directly to his students. It’s really interesting to watch him while he’s giving lectures and talking to the students in class,” said student Alicia Pulido.
Cowan is also known to look directly at visual aids with his class as if he can see them. He says this is not intentional, but rather a result of focusing on the material.
He first started teaching in 1961. “He memorizes where to put everything and goes by touch instead of sight,” said Alicia Pulido.
Cowan says he’s excited not only to teach religion, but also to inspire his students to build lives of character and service. This has been his theme of sorts as he taught 40,000. ”That’s a lot of students and that’s a lot of time. It shows through in his teachings. He’s very good,” said student Chase Hessing.
Cowan says he’ll continue to teach as long as he can.