Va. educator is named Bowie State president

Hampton administrator to take over post in May

March 30, 2000|By Michael Hill | Michael Hill,SUN STAFF

Calvin W. Lowe, a top administrator at Hampton University in Virginia, has been named the president of Bowie State University.

The physicist will be introduced to the campus today and begin his $165,000-a-year position in May. He is the ninth president of the historically black university in Prince George's County.

Lowe, 45, takes over from Wendell L. Holloway, who became interim president shortly after Nathanael Pollard Jr. resigned in late 1998 after a dispute involving allegations of misuse of the school foundation's funds.

Many at Bowie were pleased with the stability Holloway brought to the campus during his 15 months and protested when he was not among the finalists.

"I think there was some upset over the way things were handled, the lack of respect that was shown," said Holloway, a retired business executive and academic who resigned from the Board of Regents of the University System of Maryland to take the interim job and made himself a candidate for the presidency. "But there's not going to be any trouble. This place has more class than that."

Lowe received his bachelor's degree from North Carolina A & T University and his doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He taught at the University of Kentucky and at Hampton before becoming chairman of the physics department at Alabama A & M University in 1992.

He returned to Hampton in 1995 as the graduate dean and vice president for research, developing the school's first doctoral program and overseeing research grants.

"He's going to make a tremendous leader at Bowie State," said William R. Harvey, president of Hampton, who has seen seven administrators move on to college presidencies in his 22 years there.

"His experience, his background, his intellectual curiosity, his understanding of the role that technology plays in all citizenry make him the right person for where Bowie is today and where it wants to go," Harvey said.

Nathan A. Chapman Jr., chairman of the Board of Regents, called Lowe "a born leader, a cutting-edge scientist, a coalition builder and an individual who sees the endless possibilities that comprise public higher education."

Donald N. Langenberg, University System of Maryland chancellor, said: "He is a very impressive individual, indeed. I admire his thought patterns, which may or may not have something to do with the fact we were both trained in the same subfield of physics, solid state."

Langenberg said Lowe's major challenge will be getting Bowie to take full advantage of its locale near Washington and a heavy concentration of high-tech industries.

Bowie has 3,100 undergraduate students and 2,200 graduate and professional students. It remains a predominantly black undergraduate school, but has a multiracial population at the graduate level.

"The institution is very well positioned to make major contributions," Langenberg said. "But there will be a need for it develop beyond what it has been for much of its history, a traditional historically black institution primarily focused at undergraduate level."

He said the state "owes a debt of gratitude" to Holloway who "has done a terrific job."

Said Holloway: "I've had a run of 15 months of total fun."

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