Editor’s Note: This article first ran in May before the program’s debut. This week, we learned “GETTYSBURG”—with OWU alumnus Christopher Cowen ’94 as a producer—earned four Emmys, including Outstanding Nonfiction Special. Congratulations!
When Americans tune into the premiere of the History Channel’s “GETTYSBURG,” they’ll be witnessing a little Ohio Wesleyan University history, too.
Three OWU alumni were involved in the making of the two-hour special, which will debut at 9 p.m. EDT Memorial Day, May 30. It will have an encore showing at 9 p.m. EDT June 2.
Christopher Cowen, OWU Class of 1994, served as a producer for “GETTYSBURG,” which seeks to present “the pivotal Battle of Gettysburg in a new light—a visceral, terrifying, and deeply personal experience, fought by men who put everything on the line in defense of their vision of the American future.” Acclaimed filmmakers Ridley Scott and Tony Scott serve as executive producers of “GETTYSBURG,” which launches the History Channel’s four-year initiative to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War.
Cowen, who double-majored in theatre and English and minored in sociology-anthropology at Ohio Wesleyan, is the vice president of original programming for North Hollywood-based Herzog & Company. The company’s original content division creates and produces documentary series for television, traditional long- and short-format documentaries for theatrical and television release, and broadcast retrospective specials. Its most recent retrospective is “Previously on ER,” created for NBC and Warner Bros. television.
Also involved the in creation of “GETTYSBURG” are OWU alumni Joshua Artis, Class of 1994, and Johnny Ray Meeks, Class of 1993. Artis, an English major, gives voice to the character of Union Col. James Wallace, and Meeks, an English major and theatre minor, voices the character of Confederate Joseph Lloyd. Both men also were members of the Babbling Bishops improvisational comedy troupe during their time on campus.
Cowen says he was close friends with both men while at Ohio Wesleyan and is pleased to reunite to work together on “GETTYSBURG.”
“They are incredibly talented actors and were the right people to lend their voices to this incredible project,” Cowen says, adding that he appreciates the foundation he received at Ohio Wesleyan.
“I credit every experience I had in the theater department with Dr. [Bo] Rabby and Glen Vanderbilt, as well as my many writing classes with Professor Robert Flanagan of the English department with giving me the tools I needed to prepare for a great career,” he says.
According to the History Channel, “GETTYSBURG” is an “information-packed look at the turning points, strategic decisions, technology, and little-known facts surrounding the battle. Developed in collaboration with highly esteemed Civil War historians, GETTYSBURG reflects hundreds of individual accounts of the battle—the unique voices of struggle, defeat and triumph that tell the larger story of a bitterly conflicted nation.”
Congratulations to our alumni on all of their success!