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Craig Cobane, executive director of the Honors College, has passed away


Editor’s note: This story was updated on Thursday, May 30.

Dr. Craig Cobane, executive director of the Mahurin Honors College, has died, WKU announced Saturday, May 25.

Cobane previously announced on Feb. 12 that he was moving into hospice care after battling with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer, for two years. He had continued to work through surgeries and chemotherapy, but stated he was “at a point in my medical journey” where there were no treatments left. Cobane passed away Friday, May 24.

Photo of Dr. Craig Cobane provided by WKU. (Clinton Lewis)

“Losing Craig is a huge loss for the university,” Dr. Gary Ransdell, former president of WKU, said in an interview with the Herald.

Ransdell spoke of Cobane’s commitment and success in building up WKU’s Honors College and the spirit he had for its students. “He reached them (students) in unique ways,” Ransdell said. “His challenge, to most of the students in the Honors College, was to define their big dream. What’s your big dream? Not to be a doctor or lawyer or whatever, but what’s your really big dream for your life?

“He took it as his mission to set students on to achieving their big dream.”

Cobane was hired under Ransdell’s administration not just because of his impressive credentials, Ransdell explained, but also because he shared a vision to build Kentucky’s first true honors college at the time.

He was relentless and successful, Ransdell added, in recruiting Kentucky’s “best and brightest” and beyond.

“I’m very proud of him and the work he did,” Ransdell said, “and it’s a huge void that will be a challenge to fill.”

In an email to the WKU community on Saturday, Provost Bud Fischer announced Cobanes death on behalf of the university.

“For the thousands of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and parents that knew and loved Craig, we send our deepest sympathies and our heartfelt condolences,” Fischer said. “We will keep his family, and many friends in our thoughts and prayers as they cope with this tremendous loss.”

In an email to the Honors College community on Saturday, Rodney King, interim associate director of the Mahurin Honors College, offered condolences.

“Dr. Cobane was a dedicated and inspiring educator, leading many students to realize their ‘big dreams’ while at WKU,” King said. “He was also a loving and devoted family member and spouse, a brilliant and innovative thinker, and a passionate advocate for honors education for all students.

“His enthusiastic and energetic spirit, along with his love for the outdoors, was well-known and admired. In his final months, he exemplified resilience and strength, maintaining his optimism throughout.”

Memorial services for Cobane were held on Wednesday, May 29, at J.C. Kirby and Sons Funeral Chapel on Lover’s Lane.

Any one that knew Cobane was welcomed to share their memories online before the service.

“He was a great man,” Sam Kurtz, SGA president, said about Cobane in a video message online. “[An] outstanding individual whose impact shock-waved across the Honors College, all over campus and definitely across the nation.”

If any wish to send sympathy cards to the family, King said, then they should be addressed to the Honors College.

News reporter Cameron Shaw can be reached at [email protected].

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