Home 5 Educational Scholarships 5 Dr. Ian and Joyce McTaggart-Cowan Scholarship

Dr. Ian & Joyce McTaggart Cowan Scholarship Fund

The Ian and Joyce McTaggart-Cowan Scholarship is awarded to an outstanding student proceeding to year 3 or 4 of an Honours program in Biology at the University of Victoria. Applications from students are not required for this scholarship. Recipients are approved by the University of Victoria’s Senate Committee on Awards upon the recommendations of the Department of Biology.


About Dr. Ian McTaggart-Cowan

Ian McTaggart Cowan in a photo taken by Deborah Brash of the Victoria Times Colonist upon the release of the Birds of BC (Vol 4), 2001Both Joyce and Ian shared a passion for all living things, especially birds. While Joyce kept diaries of the birds she saw on her various trips and at her home in Victoria, Ian busied himself with the construction of what many people agree is the “bird bible” of British Columbia. 171 Birds of British Columbia is the accumulation of Ian’s talents and the work of four other authors, spanning four volumes.

After graduating from UBC in 1932 in Vertebrate Zoology, Ian went on to do his doctorate at the University of Berkeley. Soon after graduating from Berkeley in 1935, Ian accepted a Biology job at the provincial museum in Victoria. In 1940, he became an assistant professor of Zoology at UBC, which led to a full-fledged professorship.

In 1955, Ian started Fur and Feathers, a wildlife show aimed at children. “The great thing about this show,” Ian claims, “is that it was completely unscripted! Yes, things could get rather hairy at times, especially when I had a bright young pupil asking me daunting questions about life, like why a dove sings or why it is white.” The success of Fur and Feathers was so great that soon after Ian went on to do the adult-oriented shows, The Living Sea and Web of Life. The world-wide success of these shows earned Ian critical acclaim and paved the way for The Nature of Things, whose host, David Suzuki, was a pupil Ian had picked to teach the newly emerging field of genetics.

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