Richard C. Bowers - 1974-1981

Richard C. Bowers

July 1974 - June 1981

"In my opinion, the best investment society can make is the education of its citizens."


  • B.S., University of Michigan, 1948
  • Ph.D., University of Minnesota, 1953

Accomplishments as President

Bower's administration fought to improve conditions for students, particularly women. In 1974, Bowers called for a national ban on athletic scholarships, except those based upon need. He dropped the $5 mandatory student athletic fee and encouraged support for women's intercollegiate sports to equal support for men's athletics. He established The University of Montana Excellence Fund and brought growth to University facilities. Despite a reduction of state funding, Bowers secured the funds for the Performing Arts and Radio/Television Building. He also worked to establish and strengthen UM's connections to Montana communities.

Background History

Bowers was a professor of chemistry at both the University of Minnesota and Northwestern University before becoming Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Northern Illinois University. He was soon promoted to Provost and later to Vice President of Academic Affairs. Bowers competed with 270 other applicants to win the position of UM President.

Following the Presidency

Bowers was appointed Vice President of Academic Affairs at the University of Maine and also served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. He contributed to several formal publications in the field of education. He retired in 1992 and returned to Montana. Bowers died in his Polson home in 1996.

Richard C. Bowers

Landmarks Erected

  • Urey Underground Lecture Hall, 1981
  • Pharmacy/Psychology Building (Skaggs Complex), 1981
  • Additions to Law Building and Mansfield Library

Programs Established

  • African-American, Latin-American, Asian, and Soviet Studies Programs
  • Pre-Agriculture/Horticulture curriculum