A gift of $10.2 million to The College from Helen, or “Bunny,” Gowen and Fred Gowen in support of academic initiatives and two endowed professorships was announced Wednesday afternoon.

“Bunny and Fred Gowen were staunch supporters of the University of Rochester for many, many decades,” President Thomas Jackson said in a release Wednesday. “This bequest is the capstone of a lifetime of uncommonly generous support for our institution.”

The Gowen Room, the 99-seat auditorium on the second floor of Wilson Commons, was named in 1976 on behalf of the two for their previous contributions. The Students’ Association Senate, along with many other groups, still use the room regularly today.

The same year, they began the Fred H. and Helen F. Gowen Fund in support of special art exhibits. Later gifts assisted the creation of the Fred H. Gowen Professorship in the William E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration.

Fred Gowen, Class of 1932, graduated from UR with a Phi Beta Kappa honors. At the time of his death in 1978, he was the executive director and chairman of the investment policy committee of the Mackay-Shields Financial Corporation, a pension trust management firm in New York City.

Fred was the first member of the university’s Trustees Alumni Council of The College, an advisory group, when it was formed in 1964. He served as a member of the Board of Trustees from 1968 until his death.

Bunny continued to be actively involved with the college following Fred’s death. She passed away in September 1999.

Hildebrandt can be reached at thildebrandt@campustimes.org.

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