Bob Cowles

Bob Cowles

Employment and education:  

After receiving his Associate in Science from Lincoln Land Community College, Bob went on to receive his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Bob worked most of his career as an environmental engineer.

How has Lincoln Land Community College impacted your life? 

When I enlisted in the Army in January 1966, college was not a possibility. I had barely graduated from high school; failing French my freshman year, chemistry as a sophomore and English as a junior.

When LLCC started having its first classes in September 1968, I was a track commander in an Armor Cavalry Troop in Vietnam. My unit engaged a North Vietnam Army heavy weapons unit that week. It was the worst fighting of my entire tour. I completed my enlistment at the end of 1969, obtaining the rank of SSG E-6. I had been awarded a combat infantry badge and a Bronze Star (meritorious service). I also received a Purple Heart when I hit a mine.

I had made up my mind in the service to go to college when I got out. The opening of LLCC made it possible. I started classes at LLCC in January of 1970, obtaining my degree in June of 1972. I was able to transfer to UIUC and graduated from there in December 1974.

I had a rewarding careers as a licensed professional engineer, working both in state government and private practice … all thanks to LLCC!

What is your greatest accomplishment? 

My greatest accomplishments are graduating from UIUC in civil engineering and becoming a licensed professional engineer.

Was there a professor, advisor, staff member or fellow student who made an impression on you or helped you when you were here at LLCC? 

Math teachers, Mrs. Gies and Mr. Ward, stand out the most to me.

Has LLCC been a part of your family tradition? 

My wife Shirley is also a graduate of LLCC. She went on to obtain a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Illinois, Springfield. One of our sons also attended LLCC during the summer when he was a student at UIUC.

What did you like about LLCC or what was your favorite memory?  

I found LLCC was a great transitional school having graduated from high school almost five years prior to attending college.

Is there anything else that you would like to share?  

I conceived the idea of a Purple Heart Memorial while Commander of Chapter 159 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart. Six years later, after many hours devoted to planning and design of the memorial, my dream became a reality when the Purple Heart Memorial was dedicated on Aug. 7, 2016, Purple Heart Day. The memorial is located at Oak Ridge Cemetery at the War Memorial site.

Travel and involvement in the 11th Light Infantry Brigade and AMERICAL Division Veterans Association has kept me busy in retirement. I officiated high school and competitive soccer for over 27 years. My wife of 46 years and I also have two sons who became civil engineers.