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Ouachita’s Ian Cosh receives honorary doctorate from Liverpool Hope University

By KAITLYN STODDARD | OBU News Bureau

ARKADELPHIA — Ian Cosh, vice president emeritus for community and international engagement at Ouachita Baptist University, was awarded an honorary Doctor of Education degree from Liverpool (England) Hope University in July 2022 at the university’s graduation ceremony in the United Kingdom. 

Ian Cosh, vice president emeritus for community and international engagement at Ouachita Baptist University, is pictured at his desk in the Elrod Center, where he served before his retirement in 2021. 

Dr. Gerald Pillay, vice chancellor and rector of Hope, notified Cosh at the end of the Spring 2021 semester that he was to receive the degree in recognition of his contributions to international education and support of Hope over many years. Cosh said he was “blown away by the honor because it was totally unexpected and one of the greatest honors of my life.” 

Cosh, along with his wife, Sharon, and the couple’s five adult daughters were invited by the university to travel to the United Kingdom, where they attended graduation ceremonies and were guests of honor during a black-tie dinner afterward. 

At the ceremony, Cosh was presented with his honorary degree by University Chancellor Dr. Monica Grady and shared encouragement with the graduates during his remarks. 

Dr. Wendy Bignold, associate dean (international) and head of residential life at Hope, shared with the audience that Cosh’s commitment to service “has inspired us here at Hope to develop our service opportunities within our international programs particularly.” 

She spoke about the impact Cosh has had on Hope’s international program, noting that he introduced the university to the Consortium for Global Education, an international network of Christian universities and colleges. To hear more of what she had to say about Cosh as well as Cosh’s own remarks, click here

Cosh was honored in 2021 with emeritus status upon his retirement from Ouachita, where he served for 33 years. Reflecting on his career and how the honorary doctorate symbolically completed it, Cosh said, “As someone who attended Ouachita as an international student, I have always had a passion for the transformative power that travel and international education can offer, so this was a particularly meaningful way to end my career at Ouachita.” 

Throughout his tenure at Ouachita, Cosh impacted countless lives both on Ouachita’s campus and across the globe. He worked with Campus Ministries, the Grant Center for International Education, the Hickingbotham School of Business and the Elrod Center for Family and Community, which he played a large role in establishing. 

In reference to these facets of his career, Cosh said, “All represent dimensions of my life that I cherish: ministry, all things international, teaching and engagement with the community. Each had its own reward, and in each season of my career I was able to focus on the areas I was passionate about at that moment in time.” 

Jason Greenwich is Cosh’s successor as director of the Grant Center. Greenwich said, “This honorary doctorate is truly the crowning moment of Ian’s entire career. It is very well deserved; his life blessed international education.” 

When asked what advice he would share with those he has served throughout his career, Cosh said, “I discovered along my journey that all things are imperfectly perfect – people as well as projects. Life is filled with less-than-ideal circumstances, so we must learn to accept that reality and not be discouraged. Anything worthy of our efforts deserves our fortitude.” 

Cosh continues to impact Ouachita through his consulting work in international education and sustained presence in the Elrod Center. He also shares his international experience as chair of the Board of Trustees and as a partnership consultant for Northrise University, the first private Christian university in the Republic of Zambia. 

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