By: Jasmine Gershanov and Tiara Toran
Dr. Clarice Lowe, an esteemed faculty member at Texas Southern University and a founder of the Alpha Kappa Alpha, Sorority, Inc. Gamma Psi Chapter of TSU, died Sunday, Feb. 18. She was 92.
Dr. Lowe began her journey at TSU in 1947 as a librarian when the university’s moniker was Texas State University for Negroes. She went on to become a faculty member and chairperson of the committee that developed the proposal to create the School of Communication.
“Dr. Lowe was a stabilizing force in the School of Communication,” said Dr. Christian Ulasi, professor in the School of Communication. “She was a source of knowledge and was committed to the school’s growth.”
She shepherd the School of Communication from its infancy. She wrote the grant that made it possible.
“She was the glue that originally kept the school together,” said Dr. Louis Browne, a professor in the School of Communication.
In many respects, Dr. Lowe was a pioneer.
“She was the first of many,” Browne added.
Lowe, Mercedes Terry, and Evelyn B. Thornton, chartered the Alpha Kappa Alpha Gamma Psi Chapter at Texas Southern University in 1950.
She was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. for 77 years. She pledged the sorority when she was 15-years-old while a student at Wiley College. She was a Diamond member. Her sorors honored her every year.
“Our motto is ‘Service to All Man Kind’ and Dr. Lowe embodied that motto,” said Erica Smith of the AKA Omega Graduate Chapter. “She was genuine with high moral and ethical standards.”
Lowe was a courageous, heartwarming leader and academic. Many who knew her well said she was a champion for education who led by example.
Dr. Lowe continuously challenged herself academically. She first earned a B.A. degree in English from Wiley College in 1943 when she was 17-years-old. She would go on to earn a B.S. degree in Library Science from Atlanta University in 1945. She later earned a M.S. degree in Speech Pathology from Northwestern University in 1949. Finally, in 1970, she earned a Ph.D. in Speech Communication from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she was noted as an outstanding academic fellow.
She would go on to dedicate her life to spreading her vast knowledge at TSU and the community. She wanted her students to be successful. She was a firm, yet caring educator.
“Dr. Lowe lived for the students and wanted teachers to be encouraging,” Ulasi said.
In addition to mentoring students, she was invested in the development of her colleagues, one being Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison who taught freshman English at TSU from 1955 to 1957.
Her son, Edwin Lowe, echoed Ulasi’s sentiments.
“She wanted individuals to continue to develop themselves, to be the best they could be,” said Edwin.
Her presence and mentorship on campus continued well after her retirement in 1993 as Professor Emerita, after an illustrious 46-year career.
Her legacy lives on at TSU through the Clarice P. Lowe Speech Lab, room 214 in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanities building and the AKA Gamma Psi chapter. Dr. Lowe will be missed but not forgotten at Texas Southern University.
“She was one of the great icons of Texas Southern University and a great soror,” said Serbino Sandifer-Walker, a journalism professor in the School of Communication.
Dr. Lowe leaves behind her loving family, students, and colleagues. A wake service will be held
Monday, Feb 26 from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. The funeral service will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 27 at 10:30 a.m. Both services will be held at Trinity United Methodist Church located at 2600 Holman St., Houston, Texas 77004. The interment will be held at Houston National Cemetery.
Edited by Professor Serbino Sandifer-Walker