utnam ‘Put’ B. McDowell passed away on Tuesday, January 2, 2018. Put served as a Member of the Board of Trustees from 1963–1975 and was Board Chair from 1966–1971. As Chair, his leadership, forethought, and ingenuity helped the school through a difficult moment and provided fertile ground for expansion nearly four decades later.
In the mid-1960s, WT found itself in financial difficulties following the construction of what is now Molloy Posner Hall. The Board discussed selling the parcel of land located on the corner of Morewood Avenue and Bayard Street; Put opposed this plan. He believed that one day the School would need the property. So, in a letter to his boss, Henry Hillman, Put solicited a loan that would enable the school to save the property for future usage. Mr. Hillman loaned the School $100,000, which he later forgave, and WT retained this important parcel of land. The Upper School was built on that land in 2006, and in 2011, Put’s leadership was recognized when he was named an Honorary Alumnus. Put considered saving this property among one of his most gratifying accomplishments.
We express our deepest condolences to Put’s wife, Rosamond ‘Robin’ McDowell, his daughters, Margaret ‘Mouse’ McDowell Lofberg ’67, Lucy McDowell Karrys ’68, Barbara McDowell ’69, Martha ‘Murph’ McDowell ’73, and his son, Putnam Ricketson McDowell.
In recognition of Put’s contributions to WT, a ceremony took place on May 3, 2018, to name the McDowell Office Suite in the Upper School.