Sutherland C. Dows,
after whom the fine arts complex at Coe College is named was also
one of the midwest's best known utility executives. Sutherland Cook Dows was born in Cedar Rapids on July 3,
1891. He attended
Hill Prep School in Pennsylvania and the old Coe Academy before
graduating with honors from Yale University in engineering and
business administration (Courier, Jan. '70).
joined Iowa Electric in 1913 and was made general manager in 1919,
president in 1941, and chairman of the board in 1961.
In addition to Iowa Electric, Mr. Dows was active in a
number of farm and dairy interests and the Central Iowa Telephone
Company, which became a part of the General Telephone System. In
1956 he was named to a panel that studied the impact of the
peaceful uses of atomic energy, reporting to the joint committee
on atomic energy (Courier, April '70).
Cedar Rapids, Mr. Dows served on the boards of several banks and
companies. He was the
third member of his family to serve on the Coe College board of
trustees. He held
this position from 1920 until he died on September 22,1969.
He was also a member of the Cornell College board of
trustees for 24 years. In
addition, Sutherland C. Dows was a member, officer, or trustee of
many professional, civic, hospital, and historical societies.
Joseph E. McCabe, who was the president of Coe College at the
time, said at his funeral that, "for many years he was a
friend and colleague in enterprises that ennoble the human spirit.
In another generation, he would have been called a 'Captain
of Industry' and that phrase is appropriate" (Courier, April
his honor and memory, his late wife, Frances, and the children of
Sutherland C. Dows gave Coe College $1.5 million dollars for
building and equipping a fine arts and little theater complex at
Coe College (Courier, April '74).
At that time it was the largest single gift the college had
ever received. There
was much controversy of building this building though.
The college decided to tear down the Old Main building so
that the fine arts complex could be built.
The college decided to tear down this building because it
was in bad condition and would not be feasible to renovate.
Old Main was the oldest building on campus and a lot of
students and alumni had good memories from it.
The tearing down of Old Main sparked controversy.
Some alumni, to this day, still have not forgiven the
college for tearing down this building that they loved so much.
beautiful Sutherland C. Dows Fine Arts Center was dedicated in May
of 1974 and today is full of activity because of fully developed
art and theater departments.
This building is a tribute to a forward-looking businessman
and a friend of Cedar Rapids and Coe College.