Helen Rowan and Dr. Roy Rowan H'95

Hartwick College Announces The “Helen Rowan Endowed Scholarship for the Arts”

March 5, 2013

Hartwick College announces a newly endowed scholarship to benefit students who qualify for merit-based grants and need-based financial assistance. The "Helen Rowan Endowed Scholarship for the Arts" award will be made annually to a Hartwick student. When fully funded, the scholarship will reflect $250,000 in contributions by former Hartwick College Trustee Marcus Rowan '84. Rowan is the youngest son of artist Helen Rowan and Dr. Roy Rowan H'95, Hartwick College trustee emeritus, author, assistant managing editor and former bureau chief at Life, foreign correspondent at Time, and senior writer at Fortune.

The scholarship will honor Helen Rowan's enduring passion for the arts. The recipient will be a female student who demonstrates significant merit as well as financial need, in addition to strong evidence of a love for and devotion to the arts.

Helen Rowan, a longtime resident of Greenwich, CT, has studied the arts throughout her lifetime, beginning when she was a student at Olivet College in Michigan. There she studied under the celebrated sculptor Milton Horn. Her first job was working as a picture researcher for Life magazine. It was there that she met and married author/journalist Roy Rowan, who was then based in Germany for the magazine. While Roy covered the Cold War, Helen painted pictures of the German countryside. Wherever he was assigned in Asia and Europe, Helen became interested in local artistic techniques.

Later, while the Rowan family lived abroad in Hong Kong, Helen expanded her artistic skills with lessons in calligraphy and in painting of birds and flowers using delicate Chinese brush strokes. It wasn't until her four sons were fully grown that Rowan found her true love in art: The Art of the Painted Finish. This finish is the Renaissance technique of painting furniture and other objects to look like they were made of marble, malachite, gold, ivory, and other materials; in essence, using paint to fool the eye.

As a graduate and later a teacher at the Isabel O'Neil School of the Painted Finish in New York City, Rowan became so expert in The Art of the Painted Finish that some of her pieces were auctioned at Sotheby's and others were exhibited at Tiffany & Co. as well as the Flagler Museum. She is widely admired among peers both within and outside of the art industry, and has helped generations of students learn to better appreciate and understand art.

Looking back at their family trips and time spent living abroad, Marcus Rowan shared that he owes his personal passion for arts and antiquities to his mother. "Art was part and parcel to everything we did growing up; and it was always the spearhead of what my mother wanted us to experience," said Rowan. "The greatest teacher in my life was - and still is - my mother."

While a student at Hartwick, Marcus Rowan took several courses in the Department of Art and Art History. Though Rowan received his degree in history from Hartwick in 1984, he credits the arts with enabling his success as a student overall.  The arts are still an integral part of the student experience which can be found throughout the College today. In 2012, Hartwick offered 283 courses in the arts, with 859 students enrolled in at least one of those courses.

"Ironically, my parents, while not getting their degrees from Hartwick, have always been avid and loyal fans of my alma mater," shared Marcus Rowan. "Because of this, I wanted to do something special to honor both my mother and Hartwick College. Combining these factors with President Margaret Drugovich's vision and passion for the school, I thought this gift would be best served at Hartwick where current and future students will benefit directly."

President Drugovich noted that "Art, and the study of art, enriches our experience of the world.  As such, The Helen Rowan Endowed Scholarship for the Arts is a truly visionary gift.  This scholarship will provide generations of Hartwick students the opportunity to study art, to the benefit of all."

"In today's money-oriented world, an outlet like the arts lets the mind wander beyond its primary focus - it allows for an escape," continued Rowan. "At Hartwick, students can nurture and develop their understanding of, and love for, the arts - something my mother has done throughout her lifetime, and continues to do today."

To celebrate the announcement of this scholarship, Hartwick College leaders will join Marcus Rowan in welcoming Hartwick alumni in the Greenwich, CT area to an event to celebrate Helen Rowan and to officially announce the scholarship in her name. Friends, family, and alumni are invited to attend the reception, which will take place on Thursday, March 28, 2013 at the Indian Harbor Yacht Club in Greenwich, CT.

Those wishing to contribute to the Helen Rowan Endowed Scholarship for the Arts may do so via the following link: For more information about the scholarship or the event, contact Carrie Rosengren in the Hartwick College Office of Alumni Relations at 607-431-4064 or  

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Hartwick College is a private liberal arts and sciences college of 1,500 students, located in Oneonta, NY, in the northern foothills of the Catskill Mountains. Hartwick's expansive curriculum emphasizes an experiential approach to the liberal arts. Through personalized teaching, collaborative research, a distinctive January Term, a wide range of internships, and vast study-abroad opportunities, Hartwick ensures that students are prepared for not just their first jobs, but for the world ahead. A Three-Year Bachelor's Degree Program and strong financial aid and scholarship offerings keep a Hartwick education affordable.

Contact: Valerie Capullo
Phone: 607-431-4031