William Bowen was the 2008 recipient of the Varsity D Association Athletic Citation. The award is presented to Denison alum who has gone on to make a positive impact in the sporting realm.
Bowen was a four-year letter winner for the Denison men’s tennis team between 1952-55. Following his graduation from Denison, Bowen would go on to earn his Ph.D from Princeton University. He joined the Princeton faculty in 1958, specializing in labor economics. He would serve a five-year stint as Princeton’s provost and in 1972 became the President of Princeton University, a position he would hold until 1988.
In 1988 Bowen took over as President of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation which awards grants to institutions to further research fields such as communications, information technology, museum and art conservation, the performing arts and the environment. Bowen’s tenure was marked by increases in the scale of the Foundation’s activities, with annual appropriations reaching $220 million in 2000.
In 2006 Denison University was awarded a grant of $3million by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation on the occasion of Bowen’s retirement as the Foundation’s President. The grant honored Bowen and his wife, Mary Ellen Maxwell Bowen, also a 1955 graduate of Denison. The grant recognized Dr. and Mrs. Bowen’s lifelong commitment to excellence in undergraduate education and has been used to create the William G. Bowen and Mary Ellen Bowen Endowed Fund at Denison.