Few people on campus have had as profound of an impact on generations of Texas A&M University students as Dr. Lee L. Lowery Jr. ’60. Lowery’s students know him better by his nickname, L³, and agree that his infectious breed of humor is a familiar trademark of his character.
From Galveston, Texas, Lowery received three degrees from the Zachry Department of Civil Engineering, including his Ph.D. in civil engineering. This was the start of his transformative and illustrious career as a professor, where he spent six decades as a student teacher, advisor and friend to many in Aggieland. It was through his love for teaching that Lowery became a three-time recipient of the Zachry Award for Excellence in Teaching, the department’s Distinguished Graduate Award in 2010 and continues to remain a staple in the structural engineering program.
“It’s not work; teaching students is just fun,” Lowery said when reflecting on his career. “I’ve never ‘worked,’ so I wouldn’t know what that is!”
Lowery’s guidance has impacted countless Aggie civil engineering students in a career that has spanned more than 50 years. It is through this dedication to student success that the Dr. Lee Lowery ’60 Scholars Program was established by brothers Andy Townend ’88 and Terence Townend ’87, as an honorarium. Funds from the endowment, which is open to contributions from others wishing to honor Lowery, will be used to support full-time, upper-level students pursuing undergraduate degrees in civil engineering. Lowery elected to support senior-level Aggies after witnessing many students leave before graduation due to financial hardship. These scholarships will provide one final financial boost for students to make it across the finish line.
“I was working two or three jobs while being a college student, and Lowery just had a way of making sure that I continued to come to class and kept me focused on work, college and not quitting school early,” said Andy. “He taught his students to keep your eye on the prize, and we went to him for job advice, interviewing advice and everything else because he was there for us.”
Just as Lowery received the National Defense Fellowship that aided in his graduate studies, the Dr. Lee Lowery ’60 Scholars Program is the gift that will keep on giving to students like Andy and Terry, who came from modest families and had to work as students to put themselves through school. “(The National Defense Fellowship) changed my life and it has changed ever since,” said Lowery. “It makes me feel good anytime students can get money for school and if I can be somewhere in the middle of it, then I am certainly happy to help.”
Terry, the progenitor of the endowment, stated that Lowery was the best educator that he and Andy knew. The brothers also remember Lowery for the monumental impact he’s had on their overall success as engineers and his ability to take theoretical concepts and apply them to practical applications, bringing real world learning to balance engineering theory.
“This fund is Dr. Lowery’s vision and I thought it was a great vision to back him up on and give it to a kid who would be in financial need,” said Terry. “I’m hoping those students can go on and give back after they graduate to a scholarship such as this.”
To contribute to the Dr. Lee Lowery ’60 Scholars Program, visit give.am/LoweryScholars or contact True Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org or (979) 862-3716.