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Walt and Mabel Dowdle Leave a Lasting Legacy in Honor of Dr. Louise Martin

Walt and Mabel Dowdle Leave a Lasting Legacy in Honor of Dr. Louise Martin

Walter Dowdle, PhD, Hon. EIS '91, is retired, but he had a long and distinguished career in public health protection. His career took him to leadership roles with the Task Force for Global Health, World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), University of North Carolina School of Public Health, and John Curtin School for Medical Research, The Australian National University.

Walt and his wife Mabel have been married since 1953 and have three children, six grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

In 1999, the Dowdles' leadership and financial support were instrumental in the establishment of the Louise Martin, DVM, MPH, EIS '85 Endowed Memorial Scholarship. Louise Martin was a veterinarian and epidemiologist who was on administrative leave from CDC to accompany her three children and husband Doug Klaucke on his CDC polio eradication assignment in East Africa. On August 7, 1998, just months after Louise began work with Walt and the Task Force Malaria Team, she was killed in the terrorist bombing of the American Embassy in Kenya.

This sudden and tragic loss to Louise's family and the public health community led to an outpouring of contributions in her memory from her friends, family and colleagues. The purpose of the Louise Martin Scholarship is to provide educational opportunities for disadvantaged girls in Kenya, a deep passion of Louise's.

In addition to annual gifts to support the endowment over more than 21 years, Walt donated his $60,000 prize money when he won the Fries Prize for Improving Health in 2010. He received the prize for his "extraordinary and continuing leadership and scientific achievement to help prevent millions of cases of disease and death from HIV/AIDS, influenza, and polio." His prize money was used as a challenge grant to raise additional revenue for the endowed scholarship.

Most recently, Walt and Mabel made a generous gift for a 2018 fundraising campaign in honor of the 20th anniversary of Louise's passing. With a lead matching gift of $20,000 from the Dowdles, a total of $46,250 was raised for the endowed scholarship, which enabled the increase in the number of scholarships from six to 10 each year.

In addition to their committed and generous annual support, Walt and Mabel have made provisions for the endowed scholarship in their estate plans, a profound legacy to the memory of Louise Martin.

CDC Foundation President and CEO, Dr. Judy Monroe says, "The Dowdles' giving seems to have no bounds and their passion and support for the Louise Martin Scholarship is contagious. They are making a tremendous impact on the lives of girls who benefit from the scholarships and on the country of Kenya."


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