President Charles L. Beach, right, and student Paul Manwaring, stand under the north arch of Hawley Armory at the dedication of Gardner Dow Field on Alumni Day, May 22, 1920. After the north and south arches were taken down sometime around 1950, the Dow plaque was moved the to west side of the Armory building.

In May of 1920, the campus community, at what was then Connecticut Agricultural College, gathered near the north end of Hawley Armory for a solemn occasion.

Eight months earlier, on September 27, 1919, Gardner Dow, a member of the CAC football team, died from injuries he sustained when he collided with an opponent from the University of New Hampshire. The tragedy occurred during CAC’s season opening game at UNH in Durham, New Hampshire. 

On October 6, the CAC Athletic Association, which had oversight of all campus athletic activities and facilities, approved a measure naming the college’s athletic field the Gardner Dow Field.

Students, faculty, alumni, and others gathered on May 22, Alumni Day in 1920, to dedicate Gardner Dow Field, which at  one time stretched from Hawley Armory east to Memorial Stadium, with football and baseball fields, tennis courts, a track, and other athletic facilities. As the University grew, those facilities were moved to separate locations throughout the campus.

On that day in May 90 years ago, a plaque was unveiled in memory of Dow, and placed on an arch at the north end of the armory.  The plaque was moved to the east wall of the armory in the 1950s, and it is still there today, in 2010, facing what remains of Gardner Dow Field.

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