George Coyan, a NIACC history and sociology instructor for more than 30 years, influenced many student during his teaching career. After his death in 1995, family and friends established the George Coyan Memorial Scholarship Fund, an award designated for a sophomore education major.
The Coyan family has many ties to NIACC. George taught social science classes; including American History, Sociology and Marriage and Family, from 1958 through 1990 and prior to his retirement, was named department head of the NIACC social sciences division. George’s wife, Noreen, was first employed with the NIACC continuing education division in 1960 and retired as human resources director in 1997.
The Coyan children, Candace, a graduate of Iowa State University; Greg, a graduate of Mankato State University and Rodney, a graduate of Boise State University, all chose NIACC first.
Although Mason City was George’s home during most of his professional career, he was born in Council Bluffs and grew up in Omaha, Nebraska. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Nebraska-Omaha following World War II service during which he was part of the 75th infantry and participated in the Battle of the Bulge.
NIACC colleague Roger Watson said, “George was always bright and upbeat and had a strong healthy laugh. I’ll remember him for his enthusiasm and zest for life and his love for education will continue with the endowed scholarship for future educators.”
In remembrance, Kaye Young, who taught with George for almost 25 years, quoted a portion of a poem by Edward A. Robinson, stating, “He was a gentleman from sole to crown.”