Ellis B. Rowe ’74 (left) was presented the 2015-16 Dartmouth Alumni Award by Jennifer Avellino ’89, president of the Alumni Council, at the 211th Alumni Council Session on October 23, 2015.
Raised in a family of six children as the only son with five sisters, you quickly acquired the negotiation skills necessary to succeed in life. You have commented that you were fortunate to inherit your work ethic from your father and your scholastic aptitude from your mother (who tutored all of the neighborhood children) which were both essential in the classroom. Emphasizing the value of education, your parents selflessly sent you north from Florida for the opportunity to participate in “A Better Chance” program in Andover, Massachusetts, during your high school years. As a participant in that program, you made many visits to the Dartmouth campus, applied, and were accepted early decision into the Class of 1974.
As a Dartmouth undergraduate, you remained engaged in “A Better Chance” program through the Tucker Foundation by tutoring locally, visiting the current participants in Andover, and serving as a resource during the college application process. In addition, your days were full with your participation in the Sigma Chi fraternity, Casque and Gauntlet senior society, and the African American Society. You were also a member of the track team and played on four consecutive Ivy League championship football teams. Majoring in mathematics, you decided to skip the harsh Hanover winter during your senior year to spend the term on an exchange program at the University of California, Santa Barbara. It was there that you met an extraordinary student named Toni, and, being the very smart man that you are, you returned to California following graduation to marry her!
Your career in California began with the Mobil Oil Corporation before moving onto Max Factor & Co. In 1977, you joined a division of Mars Inc., where your career soared over the next 30 years from your entry as production supervisor to service in the positions of senior vice president and group president for various segments of the company. During this period, the Rowe family crisscrossed the country, with stops in Texas, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Virginia, before returning to your home state of Florida where you have retired.
Education, service, and mentoring are common themes that run through your life, and your volunteerism on behalf of Dartmouth College certainly reflects this. The breadth and quality of your volunteerism are astounding. You have served as president of the Black Alumni of Dartmouth Association; member of the Alumni Council’s Student Life Committee, Executive Committee, and chair of the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee; enrollment interviewer; member of your class reunion giving and reunion committees; chair of the Tucker Foundation Board of Visitors; and member of the Alumni Council’s Ad Hoc Committee on Diversity and Inclusion. In 2011, the College recognized your superior service by presenting you with the Jonathan Clarkson Gibbs Leader of the Year award.
Those themes continue through your community service, where you have continued to support “A Better Chance” program, Leadership Education and Development, and the Executive Leadership Council; and have been an active speaker and panelist for a variety of leading business and education programs.
Married to Toni for forty years, the two of you enjoy your days together in sunny Jacksonville surrounded by your three sons, Marcus ’02, Nick, and Ryan; your daughters-in-law; and five grandchildren. Indeed, life is good for the Rowe family! You and Toni remain in very close contact with Dartmouth alumni friends and their families. In fact, the two of you returned early from a trip to Central Europe with Dartmouth friends so that you could receive this award tonight!
In recognition for your thoughtful guidance, selfless dedication, and willingness to serve as a role model for so many current Dartmouth students and alumni, it is with deep appreciation and gratitude that we present you with this Dartmouth Alumni Award.