Cowan joins with Lowell officials and MCC personnel for a trolley tour of the Mill City. ▲ dropouts seeking re-entry into school. The charter school is now located in the Pollard Building on Middle Street in Lowell, across the street from the college’s Health, Science & Technology Center. On October 30, 1996, the Lowell School Committee signed a contract with MCC to allow the college to open an alternative middle school for students with discipline problems. The program was to be housed at the former Riverside School on Woburn Street. The program would eventually come to be known as the B.R.I.D.G.E. Program – beginnings, respect, independence, diversity, guidance and education. Cowan also sought and won the right for Middlesex to administer The Career Place, one of the state’s 37 One-Stop Career Centers for job-seekers and employers. The Career Place, located in Woburn, now serves more than 10,000 customers per year. In addition to providing training initiatives, the Career Place also helps MCC graduates secure employment. Cowan scored a number of firsts on the personal level as well. She was the first educator to receive the prestigious Key Player Award from the Massachusetts Telecommunications Council for her role as a springboard for innovation in high-tech workforce development. She was also the recipient of the first Celebration of Today’s Woman Award from Girls, Inc. of Greater Lowell, and was the first woman and educator to be named Distinguished Business Person of the Year by the North Suburban Chamber of Commerce. She was the first educator elected to the Women’s Business Hall of Fame, and was also the first woman recognized as Person of the Year by the Greater Lowell Boys Scouts of America. And throughout the two decades of Cowan’s leadership, the college has continued to evolve, losing and adding key personnel, and expanding the footprints of both its urban and suburban campuses. 71