4 thoughts on “William G. Bowen

  1. Rob Bernard '88

    This is very sad to me. President Bill Bowen (affectionately known as “Blibo”) was a wonderful president and even better person. Back when I was a freshman at Princeton, Bilbo stayed in touch with students by teaching a discussion section of Economics 101. I was lucky enough to be a student in his discussion section, and it was extremely worthwhile and rewarding. At the end of the semester, he invited the entire section over to the President’s house for dinner, and I had the best lemon pound cake ever. I asked Mrs Bowen for the recipe, and a few days later, she sent it to my mom — with a handwritten note about how she enjoyed meeting me. RIP Bilbo.

  2. Cara Nakamura '99

    I had the extreme privilege of working for Bill Bowen – he was my first boss, introduced serendipitously to me by another tremendous Princeton mentor, Alan Krueger. My passion for access to a high quality education for all flourished and took form during my years with Bill. Working with Bill, I was time and again amazed at his commitment to challenging and elevating the higher education community, as well as at his ability to open up important, difficult debates, forcing people to talk to – and not at or over – one another.

    As it is for countless others, but especially as a naive young woman from Hawaii, I am so fortunate to have benefitted from the platforms that Bill championed: residential colleges, diversity of admissions, and tremendous endowment growth, among many others. For so many reasons, my life wouldn’t be the same without Bill’s influence. Bill sent me off into the world with a simple goodbye, “Godspeed,” which still resonates with me today. May Bill rest forever in peace.

  3. Colleen Kelly '77 S77 P10 P14

    Bill Bowen was an extraordinary person and a gifted and committed educator. My husband had the privilege of having him as his freshman year adviser, and our daughter worked for him for three years at the Mellon Foundation. His kindness, lifelong pursuit of excellence and ability to bring out the very best in everyone he met will long be remembered. His personal qualities were as outstanding as his tremendous intellect and commitment to making a difference throughout his life. The world lost an amazing person, and Princeton lost a treasured and invaluable member of its family. I will forever be grateful that I had the fortune of having Bill Bowen in my family’s life.

  4. Alice W Brown

    There are many reasons to celebrate the life of Bill Bowen. One is his commitment to disadvantaged students; I celebrate his life most for his commitment to disadvantaged colleges. Although he is best remembered for his work with Princeton, he also believed in the importance of small, private liberal arts colleges that struggle financially to help secure the future for students who are unlikely to go to a college far from home or one where they might feel ostracized or where they believe they cannot compete adequately. As president of the Mellon Foundation, he supported the Appalachian College Association not only with generous funding but also by encouraging all involved with our work in that region. For his belief in the little colleges struggling and the faculty serving in and the students attending them, those in the mountains of NC, TN, KY, WV, and VA have profited mightily. For Bowen’s belief in my work with such colleges, I treasure his notes of congratulation and motivation. I suspect his support of a world in the mountains of Appalachia is but one example of his contributions to many in worlds far different from the one where he is best known and recognized. Alice Brown, President Emerita, ACA

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