ROCK HILL, S.C. - Winthrop University presented awards to two alumni at the May 15 Alumni Reunion Celebration luncheon in McBryde Hall.
John Paul “Jay” Dowd III, Class of 1989, of Florence, S.C., was given the Alumni Professional Achievement Award. Jean Louise Kirby Plowden, Class of 1955, of Rock Hill, S.C., was awarded the 2010 Mary Mildred Sullivan Award given to an alumna for selfless dedication of time, energy and talent in service to others.
The awards were presented by Winthrop President Anthony DiGiorgio.
Dowd is vice president for development and executive director for the Francis Marion University Education Foundation. He has enjoyed a 17-year career in higher education with 15 years serving as vice president at three separate institutions, including Columbia College and Methodist University in Fayetteville, N.C. Dowd has worked in the areas of fundraising, alumni affairs, scholarship programs and numerous initiatives such as the Nonprofit Leadership Institute and Rural Area Leadership Initiative. The Bennettsville, S.C., native played baseball at Winthrop and was as an Orientation assistant and a member of the Student Alumni Council.
Plowden is described by her peers as a perfect example of a Winthrop graduate, a person that achieves high standing in her community after graduation. As “Rock Hill’s Free Florist,” she has provided beautiful arrangements from her bountiful flower and vegetable gardens to numerous weddings, receptions and meetings across York County. St. John’s United Methodist Church, York County Museum, Rock Hill schools and Mothers Against Drunk Drivers are among the groups to have benefitted from her participation.
She assisted in the support of Rock Hill’s first African American student at Winthrop and established a student scholarship in her memory upon her passing last year. She also founded 18 other yearly endowments for students majoring in education, who will remember her and her husband’s generosity when they visit Plowden Auditorium in Withers/W.T.S. Building.The auditorium was named earlier for the couple.