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Presidential Profiles

Bowie State University’s Six Living Presidents

Samuel Lloyd MeyersSamuel Lloyd Meyers, 1967-1977

M.A. and Ph.D. in economics; Harvard University

Dr. Samuel Lloyd Myers had been a writer, lecturer and researcher of the highest degree before becoming president of Bowie State College, having served as a research economist, advisor for Inter-American Affairs in the U.S. State Department and chairman of the Department of Social Sciences at Morgan State University. At Bowie State he was focused on enhancing academic success by expanding the curriculum and strengthening support for students. He developed effective strategies to increase student enrollment and was known to hold weekly dinners with his students. He instituted a number of innovative programs such as an audio-lingual English program (English as a second language), known as the Center for Educational Technology. A graduate program in education and undergraduate programs in social work and music education were added. New buildings were erected, including the Martin Luther King Jr. Communication Arts Center, Leonidas S. James Physical Education Complex, Towers Residence Hall, Thurgood Marshall Library, and the William E. Henry Administration Building.


Rufus BarfieldRufus Barfield, 1978-1982

Ph.D. in Educational Administration, Miami University of Ohio

Before assuming the position of president of Bowie State College, Dr. Rufus Barfield had been a soldier, teacher, principal, administrator, lecturer, writer and consultant. While at Bowie State served on the Board of Directors with the Prince George’s Chamber of Commerce. During his term, the chamber initiated a scholarship fund for the college and continues to award eight annual scholarships to commuting students from Prince George’s County. Dr. Barfield was known to encourage participation from faculty and students in activities of the city and the county. Programs in nursing, public administration and computer science were launched, and the social work program gained accreditation by the National Council of Social Work.


James Earl Lyons Sr.James Earl Lyons Sr., 1983-1992

B.A. in Spanish; M.A. in student personnel; Higher Education; University of Connecticut, Storrs

James Earl Lyons Sr. had extensive academic and administrative experience before becoming president of Bowie State College. He served with the Peace Corps in Ecuador, as a public school teacher and as a teacher and administrator at a number of institutions of higher education, including vice president and dean of academic affairs at Delaware State College. Dr. Lyons’ main interest was in marketing the college. To do so he joined a number of city and county organization and the board of directors of the city of Bowie and Prince George’s County chambers of commerce. Dr. Lyons was also interested in international travel and invited international students to participate in campus summer programs. Graduate programs in computer science and management information systems were established. New initiatives included the Academy for Computer Training and a Two-Plus-Two program to facilitate transfer students from community college.


Nathaniel PollardNathanael Pollard, 1993-1998

B.A. in Natural Sciences, Miles College in Alabama; M.S. in Mathematics, Atlanta University; Ph.D. in Mathematics, University of Oklahoma

Dr. Nathanael Pollard served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Virginia State University before coming to Bowie State University. Under his tenure Bowie State became the first historically black college or university to expand its satellite and continuing education program overseas. In partnership with the University of Maryland College Park, Bowie State began to offer graduate programs in management information systems and administrative management to military personnel stationed in Germany. Dr. Pollard established the University College of Excellence with a two-year model program to strengthen the skills on freshman and sophomore students in communications, mathematics, research, critical thinking and computers to prepare for success in upper-level courses. Under Dr. Pollard’s leadership, Bowie State won an 11-year, $27 million award from NASA establishing it as one of six national models for excellence in science, engineering, technology and mathematics.


Calvin LoweCalvin Lowe, 2000-2006

Undergraduate at North Carolina A&T University; Ph.D. in Physics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology

A visionary leader, Dr. Calvin Lowe focused attention on enhancing academics and infrastructure at Bowie State. He led the university to be the first in the University System of Maryland (USM) to provide laptops to all first-time freshman students. Growth in the computer science program led to development of one of the world’s fastest super computers by faculty and students. The university enjoyed significant growth in student enrollment and erected a 500-bed residence hall through public and private partnerships. Dr. Lowe was also a member of the Prince George’s and Greater Bowie Chambers of Commerce.


Mickey BurnimDr. Mickey L. Burnim, 2006-present

B.A. & M.A. in economics from North Texas State University; Ph.D. in economics from University of Wisconsin, Madison

Dr. Mickey L. Burnim has solidified Bowie State University’s position as a regional, comprehensive university and increased student enrollment for several consecutive years. Under Dr. Burnim’s leadership, Bowie State adopted five core values – excellence, civility, integrity, diversity and accountability – to articulate a shared commitment and moral guide for pursuit of the university’s mission. Dr. Burnim has sought to strengthen relationships with affiliated groups and alumni. Bowie State engaged in its first multi-million dollar fundraising campaign raising more than $15 million. Research grants and contracts have also increased, significantly enhancing academic programs and facilities. Dr. Burnim has provided leadership to expand programs in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) disciplines, establishing the university’s second doctoral program, the Doctor of Applied Science in Computer Science, a bioinformatics major and eight other new degree programs. Enhancements to the campus facilities include the Fine and Performing Arts Center, a Student Center, and a Center of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Nursing (slated for completion in 2017).

All of the above accomplishments of all the presidents of Bowie State University make Bowie State a first rate comprehensive university that prepares students for life in the 21st century and beyond.