‘Mr. Lowe’s presence felt like magnetic energy’

The last image Lowe sent to Delacruz in early 2020.

The last image Lowe sent to Delacruz in early 2020.

Patti Minegishi Delacruz, Mentee & Colleague

When I think about Mr. Rodney Lowe, I think of his smile, the way he could make you feel that the conversation you were having with him at that moment was important. And our conversations often were. To Mr. Lowe, The Evanstonian and the students were truly important. They were so important that his three-hour commute times from Michigan City to Evanston and back were simply ‘part of the job.’ They were so important that his classroom became a makeshift bedroom during late nights and weekends for layout weeks. I still think of S103 and S105 as Mr. Lowe’s rooms. They were so important that even after his retirement, he found ways to support his students and even the new, disheveled adviser. 

When I first met Mr. Lowe, I wasn’t as prepared as I should have been to engage in conversation with such a distinguished educator and man. Our conversation was short and intense. I was overwhelmed by his smile, his enthusiastic rush of important words and ideas, his critical but kind questions about my knowledge of journalism and students, his crystal clarity that The Evanstonian was a prestigious high school newspaper and needed to continue this way. He showed me the trophies to underscore the point. I learned more than ten new ideas about journalism, ETHS, and him from our 20-minute exchange (during which time I spoke a collective 10 words). Mr. Lowe’s presence felt like magnetic energy. Finally, at the ring of the passing bell, he spread his arms to embrace the room and say, “this will all be yours now.” I hope he knew that the Evanstonian space was still his, that his energy and vision never left his classroom, his students, and all the educators and staff members who relied upon him for his knowledge, his passion. 

Mr. Lowe’s legacy is not only in the high standards he had for himself and his students and his extensive accomplishments as an educator, colleague, and mentor; it was in his indelible care for others. At the state journalism competition two years ago, just a few months after his retirement, Mr. Lowe received the Journalism Education Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award. I had the privilege to cheer for him when he took the award, to take pictures of him and his wonderful mother, and to see his students gush with joy upon realizing that Mr. Lowe was there with them. These young adults ran — ran like kids — to see him, to give him a hug, to catch rays from his smile. This was a quintessentially “Mr. Lowe Scene.” I will remember him this way, hugging his students, telling them how proud he was of them, quickly dictating some competition rules, glancing back regularly to see that I was still sitting beside his mother on the bench. This one afternoon captured vividly the rich and expansive nature of his love expansive for his mother, his family, his students, his friends. 

I will remember him just like this. Loving. Smiling