The children of UConn men’s basketball coach Donald “Dee” Rowe, who passed away Sunday at age 91, have set up an endowment to support programs and services for patients and their families at the Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center at UConn Health.
The endowment honors Rowe and his wife, Ginny, and the tremendous care and support that they and family members have received at the cancer center over the years.
Supporters can contribute to the Dee and Ginny Rowe Fund for Patient and Family Programs. Donors can also support the Dee Rowe Athletic Scholarship Fund, which supports student-athletes.
“We’re the kind of family that doesn’t leave the patient’s side 24-7,” Pelletier explained. “When my mother passed away at the center in 2018 from pancreatic cancer, we were so fortunate to be able to be with her and get great support.
“We just want to make sure patients and their families get some peace and support as they are travelling through their health crisis. It’s not just the patient, it’s the extended family that’s affected,” Pelletier said.
Rowe began his 53-year career at UConn as head coach of men’s basketball for eight years, then launched the fundraising arm of UConn Athletics and became a national leader as a collegiate athletics fundraiser. Among his many honors, he was selected by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame for the John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award. Read more about Rowe here.
While Rowe was known for his devotion to UConn athletics, Pelletier and her six siblings wanted to recognize his support of the caring and attentive staff at the health center.
“My dad’s love of UConn extends from the Storrs campus to the hospital to the state. It’s UConn. He bleeds blue,” she said.
“We are so appreciative of the Rowe siblings’ gift,” said Bruce T. Liang, MD, dean of the UConn School of Medicine. “This is a wonderful tribute to their parents and will help us enhance our programs and services for patients and their families while they’re at the cancer center.”
Peter Deckers, a longtime friend of and physician for the Rowes, said Rowe appreciated the teamwork of the health center staff.
“When he or his wife was in the hospital, Dee understood that ideal care wasn’t just what the doctor said or did. It was a team effort,” said Deckers, professor of surgery and Dean Emeritus of the UConn School of Medicine. “On many occasions, he would praise the housekeepers, the people who cleaned the room, the people who brought the food, the medical assistants, the respiratory therapists, and the nurses especially. Every one of our nurses at our institution was in love with Dee Rowe. He was a charming gentleman, and he had tremendous stories.”