Former University Dean Barlow ’46 Dies at the Age of 87

Mark Barlow '46

Mark Barlow ’46

Former Wesleyan Dean of Students and Dean of the University Mark Barlow ’46 died June 23 at the age of 87 in Hanover, N.H.

Born in Utica, N.Y. in 1925, he graduated with a degree in mathematics from Wesleyan after serving in the Navy. He received an M.A. from Colgate University and a doctorate of education from Cornell University. He married Jane Atwood in 1954, and in 1957 he became Dean of Students at Wesleyan and later Dean of the University. Because of his age, the students dubbed him “the boy dean,” but he quickly developed a reputation for handling student academic and disciplinary issues with a sense of humor and an appreciation for individual personalities. During the height of the cold war, students stole the memorial Douglas Cannon, and presented it to the head of the USSR’s United Nations delegation as a “symbol of peace, brotherhood, and friendship.” Barlow drove to New York to retrieve the cannon and explain the prank to the Soviet delegation. When students attempted to steal it back from the basement of Barlow’s house, he quipped, “There were so many students coming in that we had to leave flashlights around so that they wouldn’t use matches and start a fire.” He supported selected students who participated as Freedom Riders in the South during the civil rights era. He later served as a trustee at Wesleyan, and he received an alumni award in 1981 and a service award in 2011.

In 1965, he returned to Cornell as vice president for Student Affairs and subsequently became vice provost. During the tumultuous demonstrations in 1969 when African American students occupied the student union, Barlow was known for his ability to talk to students on both sides of the barricades.

He became headmaster of St. Mark’s School, Southborough, Mass. in 1979, where he was popular not only with students but also with faculty and alumni. During his tenure, application numbers increased greatly, and he led a successful capital campaign.

After his retirement in 1988, he spent a year in Cyprus accompanying his wife Jane who was studying Cypriot archaeology as a Fulbright scholar. A summer resident of Big Moose Lake, N.Y., with family ties there his whole life, he co-edited a history of that community, Big Moose Lake in the Adirondacks, published by Syracuse University Press. After moving to Kendal, a senior community in Hanover, NH in 2008, he volunteered in the Emergency Department at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and later served on the board of volunteers there. He was an enthusiastic participant in the Dartmouth adult education program, particularly in a series of classes in constitutional law. At the time of his death from cancer, he had just completed a one-year term as president of the Kendal Residents Council.

He is survived by his wife Jane, his son Andrew Barlow of Carlisle, Mass., his daughters Sarah Barlow and Libby Barlow of Houston, Texas, and four grandchildren.

If desired, gifts may be made to student financial aid at Wesleyan University, care of Marcy Herlihy, 318 High Street, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT 06459. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m., Aug. 25 at Kendal Retirement Community in Hanover, N.H. Arrangements are under the direction of Rand-Wilson Funeral Home of Hanover, N.H.