Investing in Science and Education: An Act of Faith
Field Museum
1400 S. Lake Shore Dr. Founders Room
60605 Chicago , IL
United States
41° 51' 58.2228" N, 87° 37' 1.1496" W

Investing in Science and Education: An Act of Faith

Investing in Science and Education: An Act of Faith


Join us for an evening with John Rowe

Mr. Rowe will address the rewards and challenges of investing in science and education, including the speculative nature of investing in much scientific work, the almost faith-based activity of investing in liberal arts education, and the successes and failures of investing in urban education. Whether one looks at these investments as high impact, low probability matters, a statistical art, or whether one looks at them as almost faith based — which Mr. Rowe finds more useful — these investments always have a high element of uncertainty. One is left with deeply challenging questions of how much to give to whom, and for what? Mr. Rowe’s remarks will be informed by his work with universities, largely the University of Wisconsin and Illinois Tech, museums, including the Field, the Chicago History Museum, the Holocaust Museum, and the Oriental Institute, and elementary and secondary schools. Mr. Rowe will also address his deep concerns that the higher education establishment disdains technical and career-driven education to the great detriment of the urban poor, and his increasing frustration with the nearly unanimous Left-wing direction of the education and scientific establishments. Put more personally, how many socialists is he willing to finance when they disdain the markets in which he earned the money to give them? Lenin once said that capitalists would sell the rope the revolution would use to hang them. Today’s education establishment wishes capitalists to donate the rope that will be used for the same purpose. Mr. Rowe recognizes that his views on the latter question would be of little interest were they not shared by many other donors.


John W. Rowe is Chairman Emeritus of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation, an electric utility serving Chicago, Philadelphia and Baltimore.

Rowe led Exelon from its formation in 2000 through the completion of its acquisition of Constellation Energy in 2012.  Rowe previously held chief executive officer positions at the New England Electric System and Central Maine Power Company, served as general counsel of Consolidated Rail Corporation, and was a partner in the law firm of Isham, Lincoln & Beale.  Rowe is a past chairman of Edison Electric Institute.  He was co-chairman of the National Commission on Energy Policy and served on the Secretary of Energy’s Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future.  He is the lead independent director of the Northern Trust Company and SunCoke Energy and a member of the board of directors of The Allstate Corporation.

He is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Illinois Holocaust Museum.  Rowe is a former chairman of the Commercial Club of Chicago, the Chicago History Museum, The Field Museum and Illinois Institute of Technology.  He is a member of the boards of the Illinois Network of Charter Schools, Noble Network of Charter Schools, the Northwestern University Settlement House, The Chicago Shakespeare Theater, The Pritzker Military Library and is a past president of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.  He is a co-chairman of the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition.  The Rowe Family Trust has founded two Rowe Professorships of Architecture and the Rowe Chair in Sustainable Energy at IIT, as well as the John W. and Jeanne M. Rowe Chair in the History of American Politics, Institutions and Political Economy, the Rowe Professorship in Byzantine History and the Rowe Professorship in Greek History at the University of Wisconsin, the Rowe Professorship in Virology at the Morgridge Institute, the Curator of Evolutionary Biology at the Field Museum and the Rowe Professorship in Ancient Persian Studies at the University of Chicago.  The Trust co-founded the Rowe-Clark Math and Science Academy and the Rowe Elementary School.  The Rowes serve as patrons of the Pope John Paul II parochial school. 

Rowe has been widely recognized for his civic and professional leadership.  Recent awards include the Chicago Humanities Festival 2014 Humanists of the Year presented to John and Jeanne, 2013 Henry Townley Heald Award from IIT, the Bertha Honore Palmer Making History Award for Distinction in Civic Leadership, presented to John and Jeanne (2013), the “Hat’s Off” award from the Building & Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO (2012), the Distinguished Board Service Award from the Kellogg School of Management (2012), The Spirit of Shakespeare Award from Chicago Shakespeare Theater (2011), the Misericordia Heart of Mercy Award (2010), the Edison Electric Institute Distinguished Leadership Award (2009), election as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences (2009), the Chicago Council on Global Affairs Global Leadership Award (2009), the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce’s Daniel H. Burnham Award for Business and Civic Leadership (2008), Illinois Holocaust Museum’s Humanitarian award (2008), the National Latino Education Institute Corporate Leadership Award (2008), University of Arizona’s Executive of the Year Award (2007), the Union League of Philadelphia’s Founder’s Award for Business Leadership (2005), the American Jewish Committee’s Civic Leadership Award (2004), El Valor’s Corporate Visionary Award (2003), the City Club of Chicago’s Citizen of the Year Award (2002). 

In 2013, he was elected one of the five regents of the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Rowe holds undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Wisconsin, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and the Order of the Coif.  He has also received that university’s Distinguished Alumni Award.  Rowe holds honorary doctorates from the University of Wisconsin, DePaul University, Illinois Institute of Technology, Drexel University, University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, Bryant College, Thomas College and Dominican University. Rowe and his wife, Jeanne, reside in Chicago, as does their son, William.

DETAILS: Enter the Field Museum through the South entrance and the Founders Room will be on your right. The lecture will begin at 6 p.m. Please arrive early to allow ample time for parking, check-in with C2ST staff, and seating. Parking is available at the Soldier Field North Garage for $25 per car. Please see directions to the North Garage. Tickets are extremely limited and are availble on a first-come, first-served basis. Purchase tickets using the link below, $25 each.

This event presented in partnership with the Field Museum.