2022 Distinguished Service Award
Citation for Monk Rowe

When considering significant figures in the world of jazz, one name destined to make the list is our own Monk Rowe. As the first and only Joe Williams Director of Hamilton’s Fillius Jazz Archive, you have spent nearly three decades amassing this invaluable resource — the backbone of which are more than 440 video interviews that collectively form a history of jazz during the Big Band Era.

Established in 1995, the archive spotlights not only jazz legends, but also the unsung sidemen — and women —who worked as arrangers, producers, and critics. You travel the U.S. and beyond to conduct interviews and share information about the archive at such venues as the International Association of Jazz Educators in Toronto, the International Society of Music Educators in Glasgow, and, where it all began, in New Orleans at the Jazz Education Network.

Closer to home, you bring to campus world-class performers to Central New York as organizer and host of the annual Fallcoming Jazz Concert. In celebration of the archive’s 20th anniversary, you co-authored with your wife, Romy Britell, the book Jazz Tales from Jazz Legends, and twice you led the online EdX course “Jazz: The Music, The Stories, The Players,” which drew thousands of participants from around the globe. Your latest endeavor is the podcast series Jazz Backstory.

Let it not be said that your contributions are solely as a jazz historian. Whether on sax or piano, you’ve been known to jam, groove, and boogie alone or with a band, on campus or on the regional music scene. Your musical tastes are eclectic, and you effectively adapt to any audience spontaneously, particularly with song requests. As a composer, you’ve written pieces for a variety of ensembles, and through your work with Hamilton’s Jazz and Sax ensembles, you inspire students to pursue their own love of music. But of all your accomplishments, perhaps the moment of which you are most proud is the day in 2006 when your daughter, Janine, received her Hamilton diploma. 

In everything you do, you demonstrate a wonderful generosity of spirit. Let’s just say you’re never one to “take five” when asked to perform at a local fundraising event. Always humble and kind — despite your celebrity status — you are a genuine treasure to Hamilton, our community, and beyond, which is why we honor you today with Hamilton’s Distinguished Service Award.

Presented John J. Christopher ’83
President, Alumni Association
September 23, 2022


Office / Department Name

Alumni & Parent Relations

Contact Name

Jacke Jones

Director, Alumni & Parent Relations

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