Pay It Forward: Giving Back

Sally Maier Rowe ’67 and her husband Tom are major supporters of the Student Center renovation project.

When Sally Maier Rowe ’67 attended the College, what is now the first floor of the Student Center in Main Hall served as the dining hall. There, students ate their meals together, family-style.

“I would go downstairs every morning in my bathrobe to eat breakfast,” Rowe remembered. “We all ate at the same time, and it was a gathering place for students.” Sally and her husband, Tom, hope their recent gift to the Student Center renovation project will help enhance the spaces available to students. The $6 million renovation, which began this summer, was fully funded by five alumnae and their families.

“It’s going to return student life to the center of campus,” said Sally, who was a College trustee for 11 years. “This plan struck me as a wonderful way to bring students back to Main Hall and also to be a showcase for the College.”

Sally and Tom met after college when they were both working in West Virginia. Sally was working at a bank, and Tom was working for a chemical company. They married in 1971 and now live in Texas. Their three sons and three grandchildren recently made donations to the couple’s alma maters in honor of their 40th wedding anniversary.

“We felt they couldn’t have honored us with a better gift,” Sally said.

The Rowes have been long-time supporters of the College, both with time and with financial support.“When you are able to provide facilities that help bring students together to enhance their college experience, that’s very rewarding,” Tom said.

“The essential character of the College is the same,” Sally added. “Even though the atmosphere has changed from a women’s college to coed, the essence of the place is the same as when I was there. The important things, like the professors, the quality of the academics, the Honor Code, and the traditions, are all still there. Of course, they will be modified gradually by the students as our culture changes.”

The Maier Foundation, which was founded by Sally’s father and is now led by one of Sally and Tom’s sons, has also provided substantial support to the College and its Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College. The latest gift is the largest from the couple.

“I’m glad we were able to help with the Student Center,” Sally added. “I think it will be important to the future life of the College.”