Albert H. Bowker

Chancellor, 1971-1980

Having earned an A.B. in mathematics at M.I.T. in 1943 and a Ph.D. in mathematics from Columbia University in 1949, Al Bowker served on the faculty at Stanford University from 1947 to 1963, the last four years of this period as Dean of the Graduate Division. From 1963 to 1971 he was Chancellor of the City University of New York, and then came to Berkeley to succeed Roger Heyns as the campus' fifth chancellor.

His long association with Stanford had made Chancellor Bowker familiar with the Berkeley campus -- as his oral history interviewer has noted, it amused Al Bowker to say that he was the first Berkeley Chancellor to be appointed because he had done well at Stanford. When he arrived in 1971 the campus was still in the grip of the "student unrest" which had begun with the Free Speech Movement in the fall of 1964, and the chancellor frequently dealt with groups of student protesters. When one such group, uni formly camouflaged in dark glasses, arrived at his office it found the chancellor similarly outfitted. Humor, he found, often leveled the playing field.

Financial austerity, marked by smaller state allocations for the University, led the chancellor to establish the Berkeley Foundation, which successfully raised the funding for the Bechtel Engineering Center and for a much-needed addition of the Optometry Building (Minor Hall). In March 1976, the Women's Intercollegiate Athletics (WIA) was designated as a separate department, with administrative standing parallel to the men's intercollegiate program. In its first year, athletes from five teams qualified for national championship competition.

In 1973 Chancellor Bowker prepared a paper for The Regents entitled Berkeley in a Steady State, which discussed the model for the facility renewal, student participation in Chancellor's advisory committees, and forthright presentations of other campus is sues in the context of restrictive and inflexible budgets. By the end of the decade he had succeeded in getting for Berkeley "the respect it deserves."

In 1980 Chancellor Bowker left the campus to become the U.S. Assistant Secretary for Post-Secondary Education in President Jimmy Carter's cabinet. Following that service he became Dean of the School of Public Affairs at the University of Maryland (1981- 1984). In recent years he has returned to live in Berkeley as Professor of Statistics, Emeritus, and is once again often seen on campus.

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