Enough Tupperware
by Leslie Lawrence '72


A Legacy of Excellence


Carl Rowan '47
1925 - 2000

Carl Thomas Rowan spent his life successfully challenging the status quo before his voice was stilled September 23, 2000, when he died of natural causes in Washington Hospital Center at age 75. He will be sorely missed.

Mr. Rowan's first contact with Oberlin College was unnerving and accidental. The U.S. Navy had sent him to Northwestern University for summer training as a naval reserve officer in 1943, but, because of his color, he was refused residence there and was transferred to Oberlin.

After the war, he returned to the campus to complete his degree as a math major. Miss Foster, his English professor, confirmed for him the possibility of using the English language as a way of earning a living when she critiqued an essay and assured him that he would definitely make it as a writer.

His periodic visits to the campus kept him in touch with black students from the Washington, D.C., area, many of whom attended Oberlin under the Project Excellence program which Mr. Rowan founded in 1987. The program has contributed over $39.5 million in scholarships.

In 1997 the Oberlin Alumni Association awarded Mr. Rowan the Association's highest honor, the Alumni Medal, for his "outstanding advocacy of Oberlin's values."

A well-known commentator and nationally syndicated newspaper columnist, he has been called the United States' "most visible black columnist." During a career that spanned more than half a century, he was a frequent guest on public affairs radio and television programs and served in the administrations of Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. He is survived by his wife, a son, a daughter, and four grandchildren

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