Ninth President of the University of Iowa, 1911 — 1914

John Gabbert BowmanThe first University of Iowa alumnus to become its president, John G. Bowman was also the school’s first Iowa-born chief administrator. The Davenport native received the B.A. degree in 1899, the M.A. in 1904, and the Litt.D. in 1934.

While university president, Bowman oversaw the formation of the colleges of Education and Fine Arts, the latter existing as a college for only a few years. He also promoted the work of the University’s Extension Division. Following his departure from Iowa, he became the first director of the American College of Surgeons in 1915. From 1921 to 1945 he was chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh and was its president from 1945 until retiring in 1947.

A controversial educator, Bowman promoted construction of the 42-story Cathedral of Learning at Pittsburgh, over the objections of many faculty members. Completed in 1929, it was at the time the tallest educational structure in the world.

Bowman was born in Davenport in 1877. He married Florence Ridgway Berry in 1908, and they had two children. He died on December 2, 1962, at age 85.

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