By Melissa Engle/Assistant news editor

John Rowlett, former vice president for academic affairs and research and dean of faculties, died Sunday at the age of 76. Rowlett worked for four university presidents and gave more than four decades of service to Eastern before retiring from the university in 1993.

Between 1965 and 1966 he helped develop what has since been called the foundation programs: the College of Allied Health and Nursing, College of Justice and Safety and the department of criminal justice training.

“Eastern Kentucky University never had a more faithful friend or more passionate supporter than Dr. Rowlett,” said university President Joanne Glasser. “His imprint on this campus will be evident for generations to come. Very few have left such an indelible mark on the development, character and very fiber of Eastern Kentucky University as Dr. Rowlett.”

The Rowlett Building was named in honor of him in 1993. It houses the departments of associate, baccalaureate and graduate degrees in nursing, the Health Sciences Learning Resource Center and Student Health Services.

Visitation services were held Tuesday at Oldham, Roberts & Powell Funeral Home on Barnes Mill Road. Funeral services were held Wednesday at the First Presbyterian Church, 330 W. Main St., Richmond, and the burial followed at Richmond Cemetery.

A campuswide memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Meditation Chapel. The memorial is to honor and celebrate the lives and contributions of all members of the Eastern family – current and retired faculty and staff as well as students – who have died during the year.

Rowlett is survived by his wife Mary Anne, their four children and 10 grandchildren.

Remembrances to the Dr. John Rowlett endowed scholarship fund at the EKU Foundation can be made by contacting Joseph Foster at 859-622-5036.

Reach Melissa at

melissa_engle@eku.edu