A Tribute to Keith Rowan

Keith was a Senior Laboratory Technician of Astronomy and an Adjunct Lecturer.

Keith loved astronomy and always talked with great enthusiasm about events in the field. He had the knack of presenting material in an informative exciting style that kept his listeners in awe. He came to us as an Astronomy Specialist, as well as the Borough Supervisor of the Urban Park Rangers on Staten Island in the NYC Parks Department.

Some of his accomplishments while at CSI are:

-He established a visitors’ program at the observatory for elementary school classes.
He ran the public nights at the Observatory every Monday for many years. Many times a few hundred visitors would show up. During the Comet Hale-Bobb passage (the most widely observed comet of the 20th century) a thousand folks a day came for over a month to see the comet. Keith led the observing during these times.
-He built our Observatory’s Website, which has a current visitor count of about 108,000. The site has won a number of awards for excellence.
-Keith participated in the asteroid tracking and hunting program at the Observatory and was a co-author of a number of measurement reports that were sent to the Harvard Minor Planet Center of the International Astronomical Union for processing.
-He taught the Stars and Galaxies lecture course and laboratory. He was rated extremely high by his students and peers and he had a dynamic teaching style filled with unique wit. His students loved him.
-As our laboratory technician, in addition to ordering equipment and assisting the teacher of the labs, Keith contributed many ideas on how the laboratory exercises could be completed and improved.
-Keith was elected by the College technicians to serve on the Faculty Senate and also served as a PSC union delegate. Many technicians were inspired by Keith’s performance on these assignments.
-Keith was recognized by the CSI community when he received the Employee of the Month award in April 2004, a proud achievement.
-He was the founding father of the Urban Star Fest held each fall in Central Park by the NYC Parks Department and the Amateur Astronomy Association of NYC. This is a very well-attended event.

Keith will be deeply missed by his friends at CSI and in the astronomical community. Rest in Peace Keith Rowan.

-Irv Robbins

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