College honors Larry Rowe, retiring after nearly 50 years in physics

The School of Science & Engineering hosted an early semester gathering on Aug. 24 to share stories and mark the retirement of Instructional Support Associate Larry Rowe, who served the Department of Physics and Astronomy for almost five decades.

“It’s hard to say anything that can capture the kind of career that Larry’s had, and what he’s meant to students across the entire College,” said Dean of the School of Science & Engineering Dan Freedman. “He has the expertise to jury-rig a real scientific apparatus out of whatever he happened to have lying around, and the generosity to drop what he’s doing and help anyone out.”

Larry Rowe, then and now: posing with Diana Cunningham from the Office of Field Experiences, who by chance also enjoyed a retirement celebration this week.

As science programs at SUNY New Paltz moved around campus, and grew to include more students and faculty and more advanced equipment, Larry Rowe has been a constant. Those who gathered to wish him well ahead of his retirement talked about his proficient skill, his can-do attitude and, of course, his god-awful punning.

Donald Hodder, instructional support technician in the Department of Geology, rattled off just a few examples of Rowe’s worst jokes:

“Don’t scratch your head, you might get a splinter”

“If you’re dazed by your PC, you’re being like a peeping Tom: staring into Windows”

“If you’re having trouble with your Mac, it might be that you thought you were buying an Apple, but it turned out to be a lemon”

He ended his remarks with a heartfelt tribute.

“Of course everybody’s going to remember the corny jokes, which we called ‘Larry-isms,’” Hodder said, “but the more important thing is that Larry was always willing to answer somebody’s questions. People would come not only from the sciences but from anywhere on campus to ask for help, and Larry was there for them.”

More information about the School of Science & Engineering is available online.