Get to know: Dr. Berdie Cowser, '07, '18
You may have seen her in the latest Stritch commercials, sharing a glimpse of her life and her love for Stritch. Read on to learn a bit more of Dr. Berdie Cowser’s background and story.
Her family calls her “Dr. Berdie,” a title she earned when she achieved her personal goal of finishing her doctoral degree in 2018. A first-generation college graduate, Dr. Berdie Cowser, ’07, ’18, attended Stritch to pursue her MBA and later her Doctorate in Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service degree, all while working full time and raising her family.
“I came to Stritch for my MBA because, while being a full-time student as well as a parent, I needed the flexibility to raise my children and work every day,” Cowser said. “The program felt right, and I loved it so much I came back for my Ph.D.”
Cowser applies her education to her work as the director of the Bureau of Transitional Housing Programs and Services Center for Veterans Issues, LTD, a job she describes as her “dream career.”
“I manage 45 people and we assist veterans in finding housing,” said Cowser, who has moved up the ranks at the center since 2001. “I really enjoy working with a diverse team that can help our veterans.”
In her role at the nonprofit organization, Cowser oversees administrative operations for housing and supportive services for men and women of the armed forces in need of assistance after returning to civilian life.
A United States Army veteran, Cowser lives by the motto “committed to serve.” She credits her parents with instilling this mission in her from a young age. This motto applies not only to her work, military service and family life, but also to her involvement in the community. A member of one of Stritch’s advisory committees and chapter commander for the Women’s Chapter #100 of the National Association for Black Veterans, Inc. (NABVETS), Cowser has received numerous accolades and awards in recognition for her work and service, including: Milwaukee Business Journal 40 Under 40 Award, BGR Entrepreneur and Business Black Girlz Rock Award, Milwaukee Times Black Excellence Award, NABVETS Excellence Award, and Wisconsin First Jurisdiction Women of Distinction—Community Service Award, among others. Her military honors include an Army Achievement Medal, a Meritorious Service Medal and an Army Service Medal.
Cowser’s commitment to her work, to her fellow veterans and to Cardinal Stritch University is one example of an alumna who is transforming the community where she lives, works, serves and leads.