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She Set Campus Traditions

Influential UCR Administrator Sally Dow Died Sunday

She spent 22 years organizing special events at UC Riverside

(June 17, 2008)

Sally Dow, right, stands with a sister about a year ago. Photo is courtesy of the family.Enlarge

Sally Dow, right, stands with a sister about a year ago. Photo is courtesy of the family.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( Sally Dow, who spent 22 years organizing commencement and other special events at UC Riverside in an alumni outreach office, died Sunday night, surrounded by her family. She was 89.

Her hard work in the public affairs and alumni offices from 1965 to 1987, combined with her outgoing nature, made her influential in forming many of UCR’s campus traditions. She was named an honorary member of the class of 1958 by the founding alumni. She did much of the staff support for alumni reunions, student barbecues, the Citizens University Committee, and she made loyal friends among the faculty, the Regents, the publisher of the local newspaper.

“I was just a flunky and they all had me up on a pedestal… I don’t know why…,” she said in an interview archived in the UCR Oral History project. One of the many stories she narrates from her early life includes the fact that her father was nearly made heir to the Emperor of Korea before her family immigrated to the U.S., and that she and her siblings went into show business, touring by car for years.

She said that grueling road schedule gave her the work ethic to take her through years of successful UCR events.

“I have never known anyone like her, or who has lived a more interesting life,” said Louis Vandenberg, director of KUCR radio. “One of the remarkable things about her was that she, for some time, was one of the highest ranking women in the administration building. She inspired many women in the UCR community at the time that they could be anything they sought to be. I know that they kept coming back to her years later, thanking her for this.”

Services will be private, but the family has requested memorial gifts to the UC Riverside Alumni Association, 2203 Alumni and Visitors Center, Riverside, CA 92521

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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