Date of death: 10/21/2023
Saint Meinrad Class: C 1989
Kurt Ewen died at his Houston, Texas home surrounded by friends on Saturday, October 21, 2023. The son of Christa and John Ewen, Kurt was born September 6, 1964, in Orlando, Florida. Kurt was a resident of Houston, Texas for 6 years.
Kurt is survived by his mother, Christa Ewen; brother, Kevin Ewen; sister-in-law, Latricia Ewen, of Orlando, Florida; his nephew Erich Ewen of Orlando, Florida; his niece Meredith Ewen, of Seattle, Washington; preceded in death by his father, John Ewen.
Kurt began his lifetime in education at Valencia College in Orlando, Florida after he graduated high school. He received his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Barry University, a Master of Arts in Religious Studies from Catholic University of Leuven, and a Bachelor’s degree from Saint Meinrad College. Kurt was an ordained Catholic Priest and served at St. Margaret Mary in Winter Park, Florida for five years. He later returned to work at Valencia College as the Assistant Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness and Planning for 16 years.
Kurt moved to Houston, Texas in 2017 and joined Houston Community College, where he finished his career as Chief of Staff and Vice Chancellor of Strategy, Planning, and Institutional Effectiveness. He was also a valued member of the Chancellor’s Executive Council. A steadfast champion of community colleges, Dr. Ewen sought to improve the lives of students and others, including faculty and staff. His support of education, evidenced in part by the Ewen Family Endowed Chairs for Teaching and Learning Excellence Awards, which he established, is a testament to his commitment to higher education.
Kurt was diagnosed with ALS on February 24, 2021. Kurt demonstrated superhuman strength and endurance in the face of the challenges associated with ALS. He handled the everyday challenges with such grace and dignity and without fear. The fact that he was still smiling, laughing, and cracking jokes until the very end speaks a lot to his character and spirit. He was truly a superhero of a genuine nature.
A lot of people, upon receiving this diagnosis, would have folded in on themselves and just drifted through the following years, with a lot of self-pity, and that would be entirely understandable. But not Kurt. He kept working right up until almost the end of his life, driving HCC to develop and implement an Endowed Chair Program. Even while his health was deteriorating, he prioritized student learning and wanted to leave a legacy that would ensure that HCC students would have the best opportunities possible. He also wrote incredible poetry to help him deal with his feelings about his diagnosis. That’s just who he was.
Kurt was honest, kind, supportive, candid, hilarious, and always provided lots of laughs and thoughtful conversations – even until the end. Kurt was an amazing force in this world and his goal was always to improve the lives of others through his work. He succeeded in so many ways both professionally and personally. He will truly be missed, and his legacy will live on through the lives of those who loved and respected him.