Robin Bowen Elected as Arkansas Tech's Next President

Arkansas Tech University's Board of Trustees unanimously elected the first woman as president of a public, four-year university in Arkansas at a special board meeting Tuesday afternoon.

Robin E. Bowen will become the 12th president of the institution. She comes from Fitchburg State University in Massachusetts where she serves as executive vice president and provost. 

Bowen will take office July 1. Her salary will be $224,000.

She was introduced to a crowd of students, faculty and staff following a special board meeting on the south lawn of the Ross Pendergraft Library and Technology Center.

Gov. Mike Beebe and Tom Kennedy, chairman of the Arkansas Tech Board of Trustees, were also scheduled to speak at Bowen's introduction.

"I am both humbled and honored to be standing here before you being named the 12th president of Arkansas Tech University," Bowen said at the ceremony.

"I'm so grateful for this opportunity to serve the Career Center, the Ozark campus and the Russellville campus," she said. "We know that everything we do, first and foremost, is for the students."

Bowen has been at Fitchburg State University since June 2011 when she began as vice president for academic affairs. She became executive vice president and provost of the institution in July.

Previously, Bowen served as interim provost and vice president for academic affairs at Donnelly College, vice president for academic affairs at Washburn University, and dean of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies and the College of Arts and Sciences at Rockhurst University.

She has also held faculty positions at Texas Tech University, the Kansas University Medical Center, Rockhurst University and Washburn University.

Bowen holds a bachelor's degree in occupational therapy from the University of Kansas. She also has a master's in rehabilitation counseling from the University of Arkansas, and a doctorate in higher education with an emphasis in administration from Texas Tech University.

Bowen and her husband, Doug, have two daughters, Alexa and Brynn, and one son, Brock.

Bowen was one of four finalists named by the university in March. The other finalists were: 

  • J. William Berry, executive vice president and provost at the University of Dallas
  • Rex Gandy, provost at Texas A&M University-Kingsville
  • Robert J. Marley, vice president for student success at Montana State University

All four finalists visited the university's campuses in Russellville and Ozark.

The university received 35 applications for the position. A 14-person search committee, chaired by Arkansas Tech alumna, retired educator and trustee Leigh Whiteside, was charged with leading the search to fill the university's top position.

Bowen, just the fifth president since 1932, will succeed Robert C. Brown, who announced his retirement in August. Brown, who took office July 1, 1993, will assume the title of president emeritus and distinguished professor of economics.

Arkansas Tech University, founded in 1909, is home to more than 11,000 students on its campuses in Russellville and Ozark.