John J. Rowe: 1944-2016

John J. Rowe, University of Dayton professor emeritus of biology, died Friday, July 22. He was 71.

Rowe served as a professor at the University for nearly 40 years, including 16 as chair of the biology department. He retired in 2014.

“John was much beloved by a generation of students and faculty in biology,” said Jason Pierce, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “He brought such leadership to the department and to the campus community. He helped in so many ways to elevate the stature of research at UD and mentor many of our finest faculty.”

Mark Nielsen, professor and current chair of the department of biology, said Rowe was a cornerstone of the department. During his tenure as chair from 1990 to 2006, the department boosted research productivity and increased its enrollment of doctoral students.

“He really had a passion and a vision of what this department could be in terms of research, and I think he met that,” Nielsen said. Today, in large part due to Rowe's work, the department performs a high volume of scientific research and continues to attract top-notch faculty.

“John picked up the department and brought it into the modern world as far as research is concerned, and we are still benefiting from that in every way,” Nielsen said.

According to his faculty profile, Rowe originally trained as a chemist, but changed his major to biology during his senior year after taking a microbiology course and falling in love with the invisible organisms. He continued by pursuing graduate degrees in a specific area of microbiology involving the biochemistry of microbes.

He held a bachelor’s degree from Colorado State University; a master’s from Arizona State University; and a doctorate from the University of Kansas Medical Center, where he earned the 1973 graduate research award.

Rowe was active in the American Society of Microbiology, and worked to generate various support systems and activities for student membership.

At the request of Rowe’s family, donations in his memory can be made to the department of biology to support graduate research. Private services will be held.

The University will remember him in prayer on campus at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 7, at the monthly Memorial Mass in the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception.

- Dave Larsen, communication coordinator, College of Arts and Sciences

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