William Lukens Bowden


William Lukens Bowden, B.A., M.A., Ph.D.


President Bowden was born on September 8, 1922 in Paducah, Kentucky. He entered Southwestern At Memphis (SAM) in the fall of 1940 and left in 1942 to serve in the Navy. He returned to his studies in 1946 and in 1948. Phi Beta Kappa inducted President Bowden in 1970 as an honorary member. He received his M.A. and Ph. D. from the University of Chicago. Before accepting the presidency of SAM, he held administrative positions at the University of Virginia, at the Southern Regional Education Board in Atlanta, and at the University of Georgia.  

“His energy is extraordinary, yet unlike many dynamic people, he does not come across as a high pressure type, and his presence stimulates rather than tires those around him. He speaks in a low-key manner and with humor, and he has the kind of voice people listen to. His message to Southwestern will be his faith in the future as it continues to uphold the ideals of truth, loyalty, and service.” (Southwestern News, September, 1969)  Bowden left SAM in October of 1972 when he was appointed Executive Director of the Southern Growth Policies Board.