CHHS Mourns the Loss of Dr. Deborah Dowd

Friday, Oct. 16, 2020 - The College of Health and Human Services is saddened by the death of Associate Professor of Exercise Science Deborah Dowd, who passed away this morning after a brief illness. 

Dr. Deborah Dowd“Dr. Dowd was known for her warm and engaging presence, which enriched our campus for many years. She was a passionate individual who gave freely of her time and expertise to her students, the college, and the university. Though her memory will live on through her contributions, she will be sorely missed by all of us,” College of Health and Human Services Dean Charlie Hardy said.

Dowd earned her Ed.D. in Exercise Science from the University of Georgia, a M.S. in Physical Education from Arizona State University and a B.A. in Health and Physical Education K-12 from Glassboro State College (renamed Rowan University). 

Prior to entering graduate school and academia, she taught health and physical education and coached at the high school level. While earning her master’s degree, she was a graduate teaching assistant at Arizona State University and a graduate coaching assistant for the women’s softball team. After earning her M.S. in 1979, she began teaching in the department of health and physical education and served as the head softball coach for five years at UNC Wilmington. 

From 1986 to 1990 Dowd taught at Clemson University and commuted between Georgia and South Carolina to complete her doctorate degree. She returned to UNCW in 1990 to teach in the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation (renamed the School of Health and Applied Human Sciences) where she recently completed her 30th year of service.

SHAHS director Dr. Steve Elliott said of his relationship with Dowd, “She was one of my professors when I started my undergraduate degree at the UNCW in the early 90s. She was a caring faculty member and friend who was so committed to helping her students succeed. Her presence will be felt for years to come by the students – and colleagues – who learned from her, were challenged by her and, most importantly, who experienced her love of teaching.”

The loss of a teacher, colleague and friend can be painful. Grief support is available to students through the University Counseling Center and for faculty and staff through the Employee Assistance Program.