A Brief Biography of Eric Lee McDowell
Eric Lee McDowell was born in Hagerstown, Maryland on December 30, 1964 to Robert (Bob) Arnold McDowell and Shirley Louise (Harford) McDowell. The young family moved to Ridgway, Pennsylvania in 1966 where sister Deborah Ann McDowell was born on October 25, 1966. The McDowell’s moved from Ridgeway to Bob’s hometown of Connellsville, PA in 1970; Bob and Shirley both assumed teaching jobs in Connellsville, Bob as an industrial arts teacher at Junior High East and Shirley as a reading clinician at several of the local elementary schools.
Eric began his formal education in Kindergarten at Connellsville Township Elementary School; his first teacher was Mrs. Spinetti, and his principal was Mr. James Hammaker. Eric remained at Connellsville Township through the fourth grade; he attended fifth and sixth grades at Zachariah Connell Elementary School.
Following elementary school Eric attended Connellsville Junior High East for grades 7 through 9 where his seventh grade shop class was taught by his father. Tenth, eleventh and twelfth grades were spent at Connellsville Area Senior High School; there he participated in the annual high school musical each year, rising from a chorus member in “Carousel” to the Shark’s leader Bernardo in “West Side Story” to the lead character of Tony Eposito in “The Most Happy Fella”. He also won seats as a baritone in several honor choirs, most notably the Pennsylvania State Chorus in 1983. He credits Mr. Merle Stutzman, choral director extraordinaire, for fostering his vocal interests and for providing him with vocal training that continues to benefit him still. He also recognizes the contribution of the late Mr. Dell Hickle for introducing him to the ideas of Calculus in a manner that was both entertaining and insightful; he still borrows lines from these early classes when teaching his own students today.
Eric participated in other activities during his high school years; most notably, he played the tuba with the CAHS Falcon Marching Band and portrayed the role of Brooklyn Jake in “Sweeney Todd” (his senior class play). He graduated from high school in 1983.
In August of 1983, Eric began the next phase of his education at Bethany College in Bethany, West Virginia. He completed his undergraduate degree in January of 1987 with majors in both Mathematics and Computer Science. While at Bethany, Eric was most notably influenced by Dr. David T. Brown (who taught him to bring his full personality into the classroom) and Mr. James Edward Allison (who taught him the beauty of both Mathematics and Friendship).