A scholarship fund in memory of 2004 Texas A&M University chemistry graduate and College Station native Dr. Matthew Rowan has been created through the Texas A&M Foundation in tribute to Rowan and his commitment to helping others.
The Dr. Matthew P. Rowan ’04 Memorial Scholarship in Chemistry, established by Terrell W. Rowan ’72 and Joshua P. Rowan ’02 — Rowan’s father and brother, respectively — will benefit future students pursuing degrees in the Texas A&M Department of Chemistry.
Rowan, 34, passed away Saturday (July 30) along with his wife, Sunday Stewart Rowan, in a tragic hot air balloon accident near Lockhart, Texas. A joint memorial service for the couple was held Saturday (Aug. 6) at Christ United Methodist Church, located at 4201 State Highway 6 South in College Station.
Rowan earned his bachelor’s of science degree in chemistry from Texas A&M in May 2004. Despite his young age, he already was enjoying a successful and promising dual career as a dynamic researcher for the United States Army and a popular college chemistry professor in the San Antonio area, where he had resided since August 2006. Just last month, Rowan was named Chief of Clinical Trials in Burns and Trauma (CTBT) at the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research (USAISR), where he previously completed two years of postdoctoral work in the same leading-edge focus area as an Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) Fellow.
“He was doing some amazing work and research,” said Joshua Rowan. “He felt like a lot of the stuff he was doing would have benefits for soldiers and other service members who had been injured by burns or other trauma. This was especially meaningful to him following my service in Operation Iraqi Freedom, where members of my unit suffered various traumas.”
Since January 2013, Matt Rowan had served as an adjunct professor of chemistry at Trinity University, where he taught both general chemistry and organic chemistry laboratories. He held the same faculty position at both St. Mary’s University (Aug. 2013 – Dec. 2014) and Northwest Vista College (Aug. 2012 – May 2014) in San Antonio.
Prior to joining USAISR in spring 2014, Rowan received a master’s of forensic sciences, toxicology from The George Washington University in 2006 and a doctorate in pharmacology from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio (UTHSCSA) in 2011. He remained there until March 2014 as a postdoctoral fellow specializing in pain signaling mechanisms in peripheral sensory neurons.
While at UTHSCSA, Rowan himself benefited from a previous memorial gift as the 2013 recipient of the UTHSCSA Stephen B. Milam Memorial Scholarship in Pain Research. A decorated researcher and student, his many career honors and awards included several research poster and presentation awards, the UTHSCSA Department of Pharmacology’s Award for Academic Excellence (2012) and Graduate Student of the Year Award (2010), Graduate Student Travel Awards from both the American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET)/Experimental Biology (2010) and the Society of Neuroscience (2009), a GW University Fellow in Forensic Sciences Award (2004) and a Texas A&M Academic Excellence Award for Undergraduate Achievement (2003). During his time at Texas A&M, Rowan was a member of the Honors Student Council and Pi Gamma Mu,the oldest international honor society in the social sciences, and also active in the American Chemical Society Student Affiliate Chapter.
Rowan is survived by his stepson, Jett Jones; his mother, Sue Rowan; his father and step-mother, Terry ’72 and Brenda Rowan; his brother and sister-in-law, Joshua ’02 and Paige Rowan ’03, and nephews, Palmer and Brant Rowan; and numerous relatives and friends.
Donations may continue to be made online to the Matthew P. Rowan ’04 Endowed Study Abroad Scholarship in Chemistry or by mail in care of the Texas A&M Foundation, 401 George Bush Drive, College Station, Texas 77840-2811. Condolences also may be shared online via the Callaway-Jones Funeral Home and Crematory website.
“The endowed scholarship is going to be an amazing way to honor Matt’s incredible life, his love of teaching and research, and his pride in being an Aggie,” Joshua Rowan said.