Marshall E. Bowen

Marshall E. Bowen

Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Geography Marshall E. Bowen, 82, passed away Aug. 19, 2020, at his home. A native of Providence, Rhode Island, he moved to Fredericksburg in 1965 to join the faculty of Mary Washington College, where he taught until his retirement in 2001.

Bowen shared his passion for North America with more than 300 students each semester in a packed Monroe Hall lecture room 116, now the James Farmer lecture hall. He taught seminars in historical geography and, early in his career, taught the geography of Asia as well as courses in physical geography.

Throughout the 1970s Bowen’s summer field course to the American West had a profound effect on students and led many to pursue advanced degrees in geography. Bowen received the 1987 Grellet C. Simpson Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and the 1991 Mortar Board Outstanding Professor Award.

His devotion to students went beyond academics. An avid basketball player, Bowen was Mary Washington’s first men’s basketball coach, a position he held until 1976. Many of his players remained a part of his life, held frequent reunions, and are devoted to his memory today.

Bowen earned a bachelor’s degree from New Hampshire’s Plymouth Teachers College, a master’s degree from Kent State University, and a Ph.D. from Boston University.

He is survived by his wife, Professor of Geography Dawn Smith Bowen ’86, a son, two daughters, and four grandchildren. The family requests that expressions of sympathy take the form of contributions to the Geography Alumni Scholarship, University of Mary Washington Foundation, Jepson Alumni Executive Center, 1119 Hanover St., Fredericksburg, VA 22401.


  1. Debra Lyn HARTLINE says

    I loved both of his classes that I took, geography of North America 1&2. We travel a lot and sometimes little tidbits from those classes still pop into my head.

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