Alcorn mourns passing of first director of alumni affairs Dr. Robert W. Bowles (’66)

Alcorn State University is saddened to announce former director of alumni affairs Dr. Robert Wayne Bowles passed this morning at his home in Gulfport, Mississippi.

In 1970, Bowles was appointed the university's first director of the Office of Alumni Affairs by Dr. Walter Washington, Alcorn’s 16th president. He served as director from 1970 to 1976. During his tenure with the university, Bowles also served in various other roles including university registrar in 1976 and assistant professor and chair of the Department of Health and Physical Education until 1988.

Bowles helped raise the first $100,000 for the university as co-chair of the Alumni Centennial Fund Drive in 1971 and was a charter member in the founding of the ASU Foundation, Inc. in 1973. He established the alumni annual giving program along with the Alumni Endowed Scholarship Fund and created the Alumni Hall of Honor which annually recognizes distinguished alums who have made a significant impact on the university.

On behalf of the university, interim president Dr. Donzell Lee expressed condolences to the Bowles family.

"We are saddened to hear the news about one of the most versatile and respected administrators in Alcorn’s 148-year history." Lee continued, “Alcorn has lost an esteemed former administrator, alumnus, and dear friend. We ask the university family to please keep Dr. Bowles' wife, Shirley, their children and family in your thoughts and prayers.”

Among his many honors, Bowles was the Faculty-Staff Alumnus of the Year in 1986 and received the Faithful Service Award in 1992. He was elected Alcornite of the Year in 1993 and inducted into the Alcorn Hall of Honor for his career leadership and achievements in university affairs. Bowles served as the 13th president of the national alumni association from 1996 to 2000.

“Alcorn has lost one of its most fervent alums and servants with the passing of Dr. Robert Wayne Bowles," said former colleague and longtime director of the student union Willie Moses. "Dr. Bowles was a dedicated leader. His guidance and most importantly, his presence and contributions have had an immeasurable impact on the life and history of Alcorn."

Bowles also served his community as an assistant and deputy superintendent of the Biloxi Public School District from 1989 to 1993 and interim superintendent in 1994. A native of Lumberton, Mississippi, he received a bachelor's degree in 1966 from then Alcorn A&M College. Bowles continued his education at North Carolina Central University where he earned a master’s degree. In 1976 Bowles earned a doctorate in educational administration and supervision from Kansas State University.

Arrangements will be announced when available.