The Cornelia Lowerre Memorial Endowed Scholarship

Cornelia Louisa Keane Lowerre, M.S. ’14

Cornelia Louisa Keane Lowerre, M.S. ’14, loved the years she spent in Miami—loved the food scene, the blend of cultures, and the energy of the Magic City. For Cornelia, who grew up in New York and Vermont, Miami was new and fresh. She was elated to discover that she could see manatees in the water of Biscayne Bay from the balcony of her Brickell apartment.

“This was endlessly fascinating for her, to be surrounded by all of this wildlife and opportunity to engage in the international flavor of the place,” recalls her father, Paul Lowerre.

Cornelia was happiest when she was underwater, pursuing her passion for marine archaeology as a graduate student at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. She was proud of her contribution to the maritime historical record: her thesis documented the excavation, cataloguing, and reburial of HMS Fowey, a British warship that sank in 1748 in what is now Biscayne National Park.

Tragically, Cornelia passed away in March 2018 at age 30, from a cardiac condition. Now, the Cornelia Lowerre Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund has been created in her honor.  The need-based scholarship will be awarded annually to a graduate student, preferably female, attending the Rosenstiel School. 

Colin G. Brennan, Cornelia’s cousin, was the catalyst for the scholarship in her memory. A photographer, he had visited the Rosenstiel School to attend a lecture about underwater photography. With the suddenness of Cornelia’s passing, he said, “Something just clicked: I’m connected already to this school she loved. It’s a perfect fit.”

He raised the idea of an endowed gift with his mother, Diane Garthwaite, who agreed that it would be a fitting way to remember Cornelia. Garthwaite’s AlGar Foundation has provided the initial funding for the endowment.

Cornelia, Brennan recalled, “was very charming, sweet, and insightful. She showed up even when she didn’t have to, and did what she believed in. She was really excited and proud of the work she was doing there.”

Cornelia’s father said that he and her mother, Ursula, are “thrilled and delighted” about the establishment of the fund. “We’re honored that this is happening and where it’s happening,” he said.

Persuaded to come to UM for graduate school by Alfred F. Marsicano, B.B.A. ’76, a former ’Canes baseball player who worked in her father’s office, Cornelia took part in unique research opportunities at the Rosenstiel School.

Her sister, Lavinia Lowerre Kleitmann, who provided the illustrations for Cornelia’s thesis, said that Cornelia had particularly enjoyed an internship at Stiltsville with the National Park Service. Lowerre Kleitmann recalled that Cornelia spoke about morning dives with her team leader and crew, and “how good it felt to get into the water and be with these people she trusted.”

“We are very grateful to receive and steward the Cornelia Lowerre Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund honoring her memory and love of the Rosenstiel School,” said Roni Avissar, Dean of the Rosenstiel School. “This marvelous endowment will have a profound impact on future students.”

Lowerre Kleitmann agrees. “Allowing other young women the same opportunities that Cornelia was lucky enough to have—I think she would be beyond grateful. It’s so wonderful that it’s coming to fruition in her memory.”

To make a contribution to the Cornelia Lowerre Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund, please call (305) 421-4373 or email jsdillon@miami.edu.