Governance and Financials

The Sole Trustee

Before his passing in 1916, Percival Lowell designated his cousin Guy Lowell as the Sole Trustee of the observatory, a role that has since been passed down through generations. Lowell Observatory is a Corporation Sole and is governed by the current Trustee, William Lowell Putnam IV, as prescribed by the Will of Percival Lowell, the governing document of the Observatory.


Anne Labruzzo

Advisory Board

The Sole Trustee relies on an Advisory Board that meets annually in Flagstaff.  Standing committees of the Board meet more regularly. The Executive Committee of 12 members meets quarterly, and is the voting authority for the Observatory’s Millennium Fund.

The Advisory Board consists of a group of people who have volunteered their time and talent to advise the Sole Trustee on matters concerning the observatory. There are several subcommittees: 

  • The Executive Committee, chaired by Michael Beckage, advises the Sole Trustee
  • The Audit Committee, chaired by Leo Crowley, oversees the run of the observatory
  • The Investment Committee, chaired by W. Lowell Putnam, IV, oversees the Percival Lowell Trust
  • MARS (Marketing and Revenue Strategy team), co-chaired by Thomas Ensign and Stephen Brown, oversees the branding/marketing of the observatory
  • Technology Committee, chaired by Dennis Hollars, oversees the observatory’s technology (telescopes purchases and maintenance), recommendations for staffing
  • The Membership Committee, chaired by David Price, oversees diversity of the board
  • The Putnam Collection Center Committee, chaired by Joseph Marcus, oversees the archives and history of Lowell Observatory.

Each committee contributes to the board and the observatory in various capacities. The Executive Committee oversees the Millennial Fund and approves any distributions from the fund. Distributions from the Millennial Fund are used to support operations of the observatory, and/or unexpected expenditures. 

Becoming a member of the Advisory Board requires attendance of the Advisory Board meeting held annually in June. The purpose of attending the meeting is to see the Board in action, meet the members and decide if you are willing to commit to lending your time and talent on at least one or more of the committees supporting the observatory. The Sole Trustee will contact potential new members and discuss the meeting and extend an invitation to join the Advisory Board.