Portrait of Robert Stowe '59

Honoring a Trailblazer

May 29, 2024
Robert Stowe Jr. ‘59 found his voice at Fitchburg State, and it echoes still
Portrait of Robert Stowe '59
Portrait of Robert Stowe '59
Robert S. Stowe '59

Robert Stowe Jr. ‘59 was a distinguished educator and psychologist whose legacy of knowledge and compassion left a profound impact on the lives of countless students and colleagues. His contributions will continue to resonate thanks to an enduring gift made to the university in his memory.

Stowe was remembered this spring at a ceremony dedicating a conference room in Hammond Hall in his name. The room, located on Hammond’s street level, will be the site of Fitchburg State’s Gay Straight Alliance meetings, along with other programs.

“Bob studied mathematics here at Fitchburg State, and began his teaching career soon thereafter, first in elementary schools and later, after completing his PhD, at the collegiate level,” President Lapidus said at the ceremony, attended by members of Stowe’s family along with university students, faculty, librarians and staff. 

Stowe became the “guru” of the Psychology Department at Central Connecticut State University, where he forged international understanding through exchange programs with the United Kingdom and Germany, and inspired his students, Lapidus said.

“Beyond the classroom, Bob was active in the fight for LGBTQ rights,” Lapidus continued. “He was at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village a week before the riots that catalyzed the movement, and he remained engaged in the fight for the rest of his days.”

“Dad began to recognize a big part of who he was was forged here at Fitchburg State,” said Jon Stowe, who addressed guests at the ceremony that was also attended by his sister, Jennifer, and Stowe’s brother Thomas. “It’s just an honor to recognize Dad’s love of this place.”

Yearbook excerpt of Robert S. Stowe '59

Thomas Stowe said his brother’s time at Fitchburg State awakened a love of education. “I hope this can help future generations who come to Fitchburg State to find what they want to do,” he said.

The endowment will support programming, curriculum development, counseling, retention initiatives and financial aid, and will enable the campus to explore innovative solutions to foster a more inclusive and supportive campus environment for our LGBTQ+ community of faculty, staff and students. These include: 

  • Programs and events in support of the LGBTQIA+ history month.
  • Curriculum development for graduate and undergraduate level courses for students and educators at all levels and specifically school administrators through our Center for Professional Studies.
  • Residential Living Community programs in the university’s Housing and Residential Services for the LGBTQIA+ students and allies to promote the education, awareness and acceptance of the LGBTQIA+ culture to help students gain a better understanding of self and their intersecting identities.
  • Financial aid to Honors students in active leadership roles with the GSA.

“We would like to thank Bob’s son and daughter, Jon and Jen, for their roles as executors of the estate in fulfilling their father’s wish to help his alma mater and our students, faculty and staff,” Lapidus said. “We dedicate this conference room in his honor.”