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Legendary Jewell professor Dr. Georgia Bessie Bowman is dead
Contact: Rob Eisele816-415-7574
December 6, 2007

Dr. Georgia Bessie Bowman, legendary professor emerita of communication at William Jewell College passed away Sunday, December 2, in Liberty.

“She was a remarkable woman, and a true legend at William Jewell College,” said President David Sallee. “Dr. Bowman was a positive influence and role model for generations of Jewell students who benefited greatly from her brilliance in the classroom and beyond.”

Juarenne Moore Hester, a member of the William Jewell class of 1955, remembered recently when Dr. Bowman was the guest of honor at a “Pink Lady” party for members of the Beta Sigma Omicron (now Zeta Tau Alpha) sorority. More than 50 women from all over the country assembled to relive old memories, and to honor their mentor Dr. Georgia Bessie Bowman. Dr. Bowman was a founding member of Beta Sigma Omicron from the William Jewell class of 1934 as well as a renowned professor of speech and debate at the college.

“Dr. Bowman was the central figure in Beta Sig for all of us who were there during her era,” Hester said. “Her leadership extended over so many years, and she is a link to the history of that organization. Having her there at the party was electrifying. Everyone stood and applauded when she entered the room. It was a very emotional moment.”

Dr. Gordon Kingsley, president of William Jewell College from 1980 to 1993 and now principal at Harlaxton College in Grantham, England, recalled Dr. Bowman’s unique gifts as an inspirational educator and a deeply caring individual who guided by example.

“She was a marvelous teacher not only to her students at Jewell, but also to such drudges as I was when president of Jewell,” Dr. Kinglsey said. “I still remember the time when, after an Achievement Day convocation, she corrected one of my prayers! She challenged, she inspired, she guided, she goaded. She was the embodiment of the quest for achievement.”

Dr. Bowman served as professor of communication and department chair from 1947 to 1979. A 1934 graduate of William Jewell, she held three other degrees, including a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. She received the Citation for Achievement from William Jewell and was inducted into the college’s Hall of Distinguished Teachers in 1987. During her 32 years at Jewell, she coached forensics and taught communication and Latin. She served as the first woman president of the national forensics honorary Pi Kappa Delta and was among the first seven inductees in that organization’s Hall of Fame.

In addition to her classroom work, Dr. Bowman served as faculty advisor of the student newspaper and helped coordinate the establishment of the campus radio station in 1974. She maintained her Latin classes for several years after her formal retirement in 1979. Her grandfather, Thomas Addison Bowman, attended William Jewell, and her father, John J. Bowman, was a Jewell alumnus. Her mother, Betty Hill Bowman, taught at the college.

Contributions to William Jewell College in Dr. Bowman’s memory can be made in care of the Office of Institutional Advancement, 816-415-7567. For a link to the obituary that appeared in The Kansas City Star, click on the link

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