A Day to Remember

October 3, 2014


I remember meeting the dean for the first time, in the Eastman Student Living Center. I was naught but a callow freshman, reeling from the thought of having to start school over again, when I was greeted warmly by the Joan and Martin Messinger Dean of the Eastman School of Music—Douglas Lowry. His wit, sincerity, and probity struck me then, and still do to this day. 

Yesterday, October 2, 2014, the Eastman community — faculty, students, staff, and friends — took the time to officially dedicate Eastman’s main hall as Lowry Hall, named after our late, great dean, who had died exactly one year previously.

 The beautiful ceremony included performances of two of Dean Lowry’s works by Eastman faculty members and students: Chihuly Fanfare, with James Thompson and Douglas Prosser, trumpets; W. Peter Kurau, horn; Larry Zalkind, trombone; and Don Harry, tuba; and Ocean Reef Muses, with Hanna Hurwitz, violin; Emily Cantrell, viola; Daniel Ketter, cello; James Sullivan, double bass; and Malcolm Matthews, piano. The ceremony also included remarks and testimonials by Dean Jamal Rossi, Professor of English Jonathan Baldo, University of Rochester President Joel Seligman, and Marcia Lowry.  

Dean Rossi highlighted how pleased Dean Lowry would have been with the renovation of the main hall. Professor Baldo gave a stunning speech which provided some insight into Dean Lowry’s literary erudition and his knowledge of Shakespeare. Mrs. Lowry spoke at length about Dean Lowry’s interests and how proud he would be to see Eastman in the hands of such an extraordinarily capable new Dean. Finally, President Seligman spoke off the mic about his personal relationship with the late dean.

The delightful ceremony honored one of Eastman’s greatest leaders by naming our beautiful entrance hall Lowry Hall. It was therefore fitting that Douglas Lowry’s portrait—painted by the artist Gilbert Early, and shown above—be placed alongside the other great leaders of the school: Howard Hanson, Rush Rhees, and George Eastman. It was a day people will surely remember for many generations. 

— Andrew Psarris, ’15