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Celebrating the leadership, vision, tenacity, and love of community shared by the recipients of the Great Living Cincinnatian Award, presented annually by the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber since 1967.
William S. Rowe was a fifth generation Cincinnatian and fourth generation Cincinnati banker. He joined the Fifth Third Bank in 1939 after graduating from Harvard University. In 1942, he enlisted in the Army and served in the Anti-Aircraft Division in Europe. He returned to banking in 1946 and was named vice president of The Fifth Third Bank in 1949, executive vice president in 1962 and elected president in 1963. He was elected chairman of the board in 1979 and continued in that position after retiring in October 1981 as an active bank officer.
He was on the board of directors of Cincinnati Equitable Insurance Co., Fifth Third Bancorp and Taft Broadcasting. He formerly served as a director of Cincinnati Gas & Electric Co., Cincinnati Industries Inc., Diamond International Corp., Fox Paper Co., F&F Koenig-Kramer Co., LeBlond Inc., Sabin Robbins Paper Co., Sorg Paper Co., Standard Register Co., Baldwin-Lima Hamilton Co., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Taylor-Wharton Iron and Steel Co., High Bridge, New Jersey.
Rowe was also active in many civic and community programs in the area. He was a trustee of Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati Historical Society, and the Convalescent Hospital for Children and Orphan Asylum. He was also a member of the Bankers and Queen City Clubs and was a member and past president of the Camargo, Cincinnati Harvard, Commercial and the Commonwealth clubs.
He served as a trustee of Xavier University, Children’s Home of Cincinnati, Cincinnati Institute of Fine Arts, Cincinnati Museum of Natural History, Cincinnati Summer Opera Association, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Association, Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber and Greater Cincinnati Television Education Foundation.
Rowe is past director of the Cincinnati Council on World Affairs, the Advisory Board of the Greater Cincinnati Airport and the Advisory Committee to the Dean of the College of Medicine of the University of Cincinnati. He is also a past general chairman of the United Appeal Campaign and the Fine Arts Fund Drive.
Rowe died August 1, 1988.
Recipients are selected from candidates by the Cincinnati Chamber’s senior council based on the following criteria: – Community service – Business and civic attainment on a local, state and national or international level – Leadership – Awareness of the needs of others – Distinctive accomplishments that have brought favorable attention to their community, institution or organization