Home » 150 years in the making: Waterville holds ceremony recognizing history

150 years in the making: Waterville holds ceremony recognizing history

On Thursday, May 16, the Waterville Central School District celebrated 150 years since the district was recognized by the New York State Board of Regents. There was a ceremony at 9:30 a.m. at the Waterville Jr./Sr. High School athletic stadium.

Highlights of the program included showcasing students, alumni, teachers and a keynote speaker.

A photo of Stephen O'Dowd in a suit and tie.

The keynote speaker is Stephen O’Dowd, who graduated from Waterville in 1977 and recently completed more than 42 years of U.S. government service – from a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco and culminating as a member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Counselor at the U.S. Department of State.

He also served in the Department of State’s Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) in support of the Enduring Welcome initiative facilitating the travel and processing of former Afghan employees of the U.S. government from Afghanistan to the United States for resettlement.  Mr. O’Dowd also was PRM’s Senior Coordinator for Refugee and Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, assisting refugees and Iraqis who fled their homes during ISIS’s occupation of over one-third of the country.

He has also held multiple overseas and domestic positions in Morocco, Iraq, Egypt, Damascus, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Muscat, and Amman. He holds multiple Superior and Meritorious Honor Awards for distinguished service. He speaks Arabic and French.

O’Dowd holds a Bachelor of Arts from Hamilton College and a Master of Science National Resource Strategy from the National Defense University’s Eisenhower School in Washington, DC.  He and his wife, Rhonda Brown, are the parents of four adult children.  He is the son of fellow Waterville natives, the late William (“Bill”) and Margaret (“Peg”) O’Dowd. 

The New York Board of Regents recognized the Waterville Union School and Academy on April 29, 1874. The school later became the Waterville Central School District.

For the ceremony, students and staff were given t-shirts in the district’s school colors, highlighting the new logo, at no cost to families.

Photos and a video will be shared on the district website and social media in the days following the event.

, ,