Meet Alexandra L. Rowan

The Face and the Inspiration for the Rowan Foundation.

Alexandra Louise Rowan was born in London, England, on August 21, 1990. She was conceived at Bourn Hall Fertility clinic in Cambridgeshire, a world-famous facility established by Dr. Patrick Steptoe, a pioneer in the treatment of infertility and one of the fathers of in vitro fertilization. After a difficult premature birth at thirty one weeks, the unyielding efforts of the neo-natal staff in University College Hospital paid off and Alex was released home shortly before the Christmas of 1990.

Alexandra’s Early Years

Although a Londoner by birth, Alex’s early years were spent in Oslo, Norway, where she learned to ski and swim almost before she could walk! After five years in Norway, her family moved to Houston, Texas, where Alex thrived. She initially attended Ascension Episcopal school where she discovered a talent for reading, writing, and art. These interests stayed with her throughout her life, and she was to win several school and local prizes for her work. Her middle school and high school years were spent at the Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart. Her time at Duchesne taught Alex how to study and carry out research; and, it laid the foundation for several friendships that were to last her whole life. Throughout her time in Houston, Alex was active in lots of areas: Indian Princesses, which along with other groups gave her a love for camping and hiking; her school’s robotics team which satisfied the geek in her; and, Aikido, in which she earned a Black Belt and developed a love for anything Japanese.

Alex as a kid
Alex Senior Photo

A Huge Leap Forward

With several acceptances for different universities, Alex selected the University of Pittsburgh and moved there in 2009 to begin student life on the beautiful Oakland Campus. Despite a bumpy freshman year (complete with the worst Pittsburgh winter in many years!) Alex was determined to stick things out and complete her degree. More close and special friendships were formed during those four years of student life. Each year showed improved grades, and she achieved a double major in writing and communications, making the Dean’s list.

Independent Alex

Her time at Pitt transformed Alex from a typical teenager into a young woman with a strong streak of independence. Despite her parent’s best efforts, Alex wanted to make it alone in Pittsburgh. After graduation, and in short order, she found a place to live, a decent job in her chosen field, and a boyfriend. Entering the workforce, Alex’s life became that of a young adult – commuting, working, and enjoying herself. The world was her oyster until October 30th, 2013, when she collapsed on the way out of her office. Despite the best efforts of the doctors and nurses at Saint Clare Hospital, she died five hours after collapsing.

Travel was a big part of Alex’s life. She made regular trips to England for hiking and visiting family. She visited France and China, and many parts of the US. Her life was rich and full, like her spirit.

Alex in graduation cap and robe