125. William Bowen


Princeton’s seventeenth president, William Bowen *58, is shown here with his wife, Mary Ellen, wearing part of the “Marxist” Reunion costume of the senior class of 1974.  Bowen earned his Ph.D. just before his twenty-fifth birthday, then joined the faculty as an assistant professor of economics.  He was made director of graduate studies for the Woodrow Wilson School at age 30, a full professor of economics and public affairs at 31, University provost at 33, and became the president at 38.  As provost, Bowen played a significant role in the initiation of coeducation, and as president, he saw it more fully implemented, along with the transformation of residential life patterns into the college system and significant physical expansion with the construction and renovation of a score of buildings.  Under Bowen’s tenure, the University established 7 new departments and programs (including molecular biology) and 46 endowed professorships.  After leaving the University in 1988, he became president of the Andrew Mellon Foundation.  Awarded the University’s James Madison Medal in 1994, Bowen is the author and contributor to eighteen books, including the groundbreaking work The Shape of the River with former Harvard President Derek Bok about race sensitive admissions policies.

  • To learn more about William Bowen, see icon #10.

  • To learn more about Princeton University presidents, see quotation #9, 11, 33, and 41, and Café Vivian picture #33, 40, 95, 98, 105, 113, and 122.

  • To learn more about recipients of the James Madison Medal, see quotation #3, 5, 30, and 31, and Café Vivian picture #70, and 122.