The Passing of Gloria Rowland

To the Williams community,

I write to report the sad news that retired staff member Gloria Rowland, who served as the front desk receptionist in the Admission Office for 18 years, passed away on September 3.

Gloria began at Williams in 1971 and worked in Mather House until her retirement in 1989. Her job involved the delicate balancing of responsibilities, from fielding the many incoming phone calls to scheduling interviews with prospective students to providing admission tours when needed—work she performed with skill, grace, and humor.

“Gloria never lost her cool, even the day when (Mohammad) Reza Pahlevi arrived for his interview with a retinue of five generals in full dress and Nelson Rockefeller’s head P.R. man,” said Philip Smith ’55, dean of admission, emeritus. “I was told not to tell anyone about his visit and kept my word. I knew I could count on Gloria not to be nonplussed.”

Richard Nesbitt, former director of admission and current senior advisor to the dean of admission and financial aid, recalls Gloria’s sharp sense of humor and the joy she took in bantering with some of the younger members of the office, including Tom Parker ’69, Tim Napier ’70, and Mike Reed ’75. She is remembered by her contemporaries for her intelligence, courtesy, and independence.

Gloria’s son, Craig Rowland, and sister, Norma Mickle, predeceased her. She is survived by her two children, Susan Simmons and Peter Rowland ’79.

Our thoughts are with Gloria’s family and many friends.


Maud S. Mandel
Professor of History; Program in Jewish Studies