Dr. Franklin M. Loew
dr. franklin loew

Dr. Franklin M. Loew

Former veterinary school dean dies

Dr. Franklin M. Loew, president of Becker College and former dean of Tufts University School of Veterinary, died April 22 at Brigham and Women's Hospital. He was 63 and had been fighting a rare form of cancer for the past three years.

A man of indomitable spirit and legendary wit, Loew served as dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine from 1982 to 1995, leaving Tufts to become dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University, his alma mater.

While at Tufts, Loew built the veterinary school into a nationally recognized institution, known for its signature programs in biotechnology, equine sports medicine, wildlife medicine, ethics and values and international veterinary medicine. He often referred to Tufts as "the dandiest little vet school in the country."

"But he has done something more—something to which many aspire, but only a rare few achieve," former Provost Sol Gittleman wrote in a letter to the Tufts community in announcing Loew's departure for Cornell. "Frank Loew has inspired his faculty, students and staff to work together as a community dedicated to the highest standards of education and research. Frank leads by example. It is no secret that he lived and breathed Tufts vet school, that his passion for his work is unparalleled, that his compassion for humans and animals is sincere, his intellectual curiosity insatiable, and his humor ever at the ready."

At the dedication of the $2.4 million Franklin M. Loew Veterinary Education Center on the Grafton campus in October 1992, Loew, in his typical magnanimous style, remarked, "My name should be seen as representing those of the Tufts trustees, students, faculty and staff who truly are responsible for our school's progress."

In his farewell dean's message published in the veterinary school newsletter in fall 1995, Loew wrote: "I have many memories of my time at Tufts, and most are pleasant ones. In the early days, our future was not the bright one it is today. Doubters were everywhere, and critics were harsh. When asked how I slept at night, I replied, 'Like a baby. Sleep for an hour, cry for an hour, sleep for an hour…!' "

Loew became Becker College's eighth president in 1998. During his tenure, the percentage of students enrolled in baccalaureate degree programs rose from 13 percent to more than 60 percent, and four major degree programs were added to the curriculum. He remained an outspoken advocate for a number of causes close to his heart, including the Humane Society, United Way and MSPCA. Becker Board of Trustee President Michael Jesanis said, "In a college community there are so many different audiences, and Frank had an amazing ability to interact well with everyone. We will miss his leadership, wisdom and energy. Fortunately, he has left behind a well-run legacy, and the college will continue to operate smoothly, if sadly."

Before becoming president of Becker, Loew served as president and chief executive officer of Medical Foods Inc., which develops foods to promote good health. He held two doctorates, one in nutrition from Canada's University of Saskatchewan and one in veterinary medicine from Cornell University, where he also received his undergraduate degree. He was an elected member of the National Academy of Science's Institute of Medicine. He also was a division director at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and a professor at the University of Saskatchewan, where he was also a Medical Research Council Fellow. He was also a visiting scientist at M.I.T. and a senior fellow at Tufts. In the 1970s, Loew was on the research team in western Canada that helped develop what is now known as canola oil. In 1977, he received a Queen's Jubilee Medal from the Governor-General of Canada.

Loew served as a consultant to many universities, foundations, government agencies and companies, including Columbia and Ohio State universities, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health, NASA, the Smithsonian Institution and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He was also a member of several nonprofit boards of trustees, including the New England Aquarium and the Tuskegee Advisory Committee for the Center of Bioethics and Health Care Policy.

His writings appeared in publications ranging from Science, Nature Biotechnology and all the major veterinary journals to The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. His book, Vet in the Saddle, was published in 1978.

Loew is survived by two sons, Tim, a 1991 graduate of Tufts, and Andrew, both of Newton, Mass.; two stepsons, Charles Digges of Olso and Stephen Digges of New York City; his first wife, Mary (Moffatt) Loew of Newton; his second wife, Deborah Digges, professor of poetry at Tufts; and a brother, William, of Exton, Pa.

Instead of flowers, the family suggests that donations may be made to the Franklin M. Loew Memorial Fund at Becker College, the Humane Society of the United States or the ASPCA.