Jane MacKay Howe '49, all four of her children, several of her grandchildren, and other Howe family members gathered with Loomis Chaffee community members in Grubbs Quadrangle for the dedication of Howe Hall on Friday evening, October 20.
The dormitory, one of the school's oldest buildings, was renamed in honor of Jane and her husband, the late Glover E. Howe, Jr. '48, who were longtime, revered faculty members and dorm heads of the very building that now bears their name.
During the outdoor dedication ceremony, several Loomis community members spoke about the mark Jane and Glover made on the school and shared fond memories of living, learning, working, and teaching alongside the couple — both of whom served as models of dedication to their family and their vocation.
Choosing to name the dorm in honor of Glover and Jane "makes everyone happy," said Head of the Board of Trustees Christopher K. Norton '76. The decision to change the name of the building, formerly Mason Hall, was controversial he acknowledged, but once the Howe name was determined, students, alumni, and faculty quickly and unanimously hailed the decision.
Head of School Sheila Culbert gave a brief accounting of the many roles Jane and Glover assumed on the Island from 1956 until they retired in 1989. "They are the only faculty couple in the history of the school who have each served as dormitory heads in the same dormitory — Mason Hall," Sheila remarked. Glover served as dorm head when it was a boys residence hall, and Jane was dorm head when the school welcomed its first boarding girls and housed them in Mason.
The current Howe Hall dorm head, history teacher Lori Caligiuri, also spoke at the ceremony. She noted that Loomis faculty who become dormitory heads assume the role of stewards and strive to create a warm and nurturing space for all the residents, much as a family cares for and passes down an historic home through generations. Jane and Glover are a great inspiration to Lori and others in the residence community, she said. "This is HOWE we do it!" she said, holding up a T-shirt bearing this dorm slogan.
Senior Juliet Rhodes, a current Howe Hall resident, spoke on behalf of her classmates, peers, and fellow Howe Hall girls, many of whom were observing the ceremony from the Howe Hall balcony. Juliet remarked that she and her aunts, Judith Rhodes Langford '87 and Jennifer Rhodes '88, represent her family's long relationship with the school, and she recounted the way that Jane gently soothed her grandmother's concerns about sending her daughters away to school and took Judith under her wing as Judith's dorm head and advisor.
Juliet said the solid brick structure and the family of faculty and students that reside within are a dependable source of warmth, comfort and safety. "I don't think it's a coincidence that if one were to turn the 'w' in Howe upside down, it would make the word 'home,'" Juliet concluded.
Invited to speak to the gathering, Jane said she was "humbled and a bit overwhelmed with the significance" of the occasion. She and Glover felt fortunate to play an important role in the lives of young people at Loomis, and their own lives were "enriched by the opportunity to serve others," Jane said. Loomis Chaffee is a unique and remarkable school worthy of good stewardship and support, she said, adding that the school will "remain part of our lives now more permanently than we ever imagined." On behalf of the entire Howe family, Jane thanked the school community for the tribute and the celebration.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Jane and Sheila unveiled the dedication plaque, which reads: "Howe Hall: Dedicated in honor of Glover Howe '48 and Jane MacKay Howe '49: Longtime faculty and loyal members of the Loomis Chaffee community: 1956-1989: 2017."