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David Warren Bowen Prize for Undergraduate Writing and Research

 The David Warren Bowen Prize for undergraduate writing and research was established in 2009 in memory of our late colleague and chair, Dr. David Bowen. The Department of History and Social Sciences and the Department of Behavioral Sciences each choose a recipient and the award will be made annually provided that students can be identified whose work is deemed worthy. 

Past winners from the Department of History and Social Sciences: 

Natalie Mooney

Jordan Mahaffey

Lyle Meador

Alex Brownlee

Stephen Luca

Dr. David Warren Bowen

A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Dr. David W. Bowen took the B.S., M.A., and Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee, where he worked as a Research Assistant with the Andrew Johnson Papers. From 1972 to 1974, he served as Executive Director of the Tennessee American Revolution Bicentennial Commission. 

He was a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Alabama in 1979 and a Research Associate on the Correspondence of James K. Polk at Vanderbilt University in 1979 – 1980. 

Dr. Bowen joined the faculty at the University of West Alabama in September of 1980 and at the time of his death was a Professor of History and Chairperson of the Department of History and Social Sciences. He was a scholar of Andrew Johnson and of African-American history and authored several publications, including a book on Johnson and African Americans published in 1989. 

According to former UWA Provost David M. Taylor, “Dr. Bowen will be remembered as a very special colleague and Professor. David adopted the persona of the University curmudgeon as a means of challenging his colleagues and his students to question pat beliefs and test the limits of the status quo. 

“This technique proved highly effective in the classroom, and he was known as one of the University’s most successful professors. David also had a knack for helping students who were on the brink of failure — for whatever reason — and would take these students under his wing and give them that special attention they needed to survive and succeed. One grateful parent sent the Liberal Arts Dean a lengthy letter describing her daughter’s many problems, including depression, that arose during her undergraduate studies. This mother wrote, ‘I state unequivocally that without all the extra help she got from Dr. Bowen, she would have not been able to finish her degree. . . You should be proud of Dr. Bowen because he helped to do more than save a degree for a student, he helped save her also.’” 

Dr. Taylor added that in addition to his love of history, Dr. Bowen was passionate about bass fishing and belonged to several area fishing clubs and often fared very well in fishing tournaments. Dr. Bowen was looking forward to retiring within the next two years so that he would have more time to pursue his historical research and bass fishing. 

Sadly, Dr. Bowen also looked forward to spending time with his new grandson, whom he had met for the first time the week prior to his death.