Bowie State University

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Bowie State University
Motto "Prepare For Life"
Established January 9, 1865 (1865-01-09)
Type Public, HBCU
Endowment $22,991,522
President Mickey L. Burnim, PhD
Provost Weldon Jackson, PhD. (Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs)
Academic staff 400
Students 5,561
Location Bowie, Maryland
Campus Suburban, 338½ acres (1.4 km²)
Former names Bowie State College
Colors Black and Gold
Athletics NCAA Division II
Sports Basketball
Cross Country
Indoor Track & Field
Outdoor Track & Field
Nickname Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs
Affiliations Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association

Bowie State University ("Bowie State"), is a public university located on 355½ acres (1.4 km²) in unincorporated Prince George's County, Maryland, United States, north of the suburban city of Bowie. Bowie State is part of the University System of Maryland. Bowie State is Maryland's oldest historically black university[1] and one of the ten oldest in the country.[2] Bowie State is a member-school of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.


BSU has 20 undergraduate majors, 20 master’s programs, two doctoral programs, 10 graduate certificate programs and 2 certificates of advanced study in disciplines as diverse as computer science, education, human resource development, organizational communication, and nursing. In partnership with the University of Maryland University College, Bowie State University became the first historically black university to include overseas studies. It was also the first university in the nation to offer a bachelor's degree in pedology. Programs include a rare doctoral degree in education leadership, a program for education administrators.[3]

In 1995, NASA and the National Science Foundation awarded $27 million as one of only six schools in the nation declared Model Institutions for Excellence in science, engineering, and mathematics. This led to a strengthening of the already growing computer science program; in 1999, the Maryland Higher Education Commission approved the school's additional focus in computers and technology. Since then new technology related programs including music technology and a strengthened computer science department have been added.

The university is home to The Maryland Center,[4] a not-for-profit organization founded in 1998 providing community services. In partnership with the federal General Services Administration, the campus hosts the Bowie State University Telecommuting Center, which has state-of-the-art workstations and is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Telecommuting Center can be used by anyone.[5]

Schools and departments[edit]


Main Entrance, Center for Business & Graduate Studies

Bowie State University is an outgrowth of the first school opened in Baltimore, Maryland by the "Baltimore Association for the Moral and Educational Improvement of Colored People", which was organized on December 15, 1864 to engage in its self-appointed mission of offering educational opportunities that the city and the state failed to provide for its (then "colored"/"Negro")/Black citizens. The first school, offering courses in the elements of education, was opened on January 9, 1865 in the African Baptist Church then located on the corner of North Calvert and East Saratoga Streets. The first courses in normal education to train teachers were offered at the same location in 1866. The facility was woefully inadequate to house both schools. In 1867, with the aid of a grant from the Freedmen's Bureau, the Quakers (Society of Friends) of England and others, the "Baltimore Association" purchased from the Society of Friends a building located at Courtland and Saratoga streets for the relocation of its normal school.

The Baltimore Normal School received occasional financial support from the City of Baltimore at the Baltimore City Public Schools after a long controversy following the American Civil War, finally beginning in 1870 (influenced by the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution) and from the state since 1872. In 1871, it received a legacy of $3,500 from the Nelson Wells Fund, established before Wells' death in February 1843 for the Wells Free School with the similar intent of providing for the education of freed Negro children in Maryland. On April 8, 1908, at the request of the Baltimore Normal School Board, which desired permanent status and funding as an institution for the education of Negro teachers, the state legislature authorized its Board of Education to assume control of the school. The same law re-designated the institution as Normal School No. 3. Subsequently, it was relocated on a 187-acre tract in Prince George's County, Maryland in 1911 and by 1914 it was known as the Maryland Normal and Industrial School at Bowie.

A two-year professional curriculum in teacher education which started in 1925 was expanded to a three-year program in 1931. In 1935, a four-year program for the training of elementary school teachers began and the school was renamed Maryland State Teachers College at Bowie. In 1951 the college expanded its program to train teachers for junior high schools. Ten years later, a teacher-training program for secondary education was instituted. In 1963, a liberal arts program was started and the name was changed to Bowie State College.

In 1970, Bowie State College was authorized to grant its first graduate degree, the Master of Education. A significant milestone in the development of graduate studies at Bowie State was achieved with the Board of Trustees' approval of the establishment of the Adler-Dreikurs Institute of Human Relations in 1975. Currently, the University offers bachelor's and master's degree programs across a broad range of disciplines and doctoral degrees in educational leadership and computer science. On July 1, 1988, Bowie State College officially became Bowie State University, a change reflecting significant growth in the institution's programs, enrollment and service to the local area. On the same day, the University also became one of the constituent institutions of the newly formed University System of Maryland.

In 1995, Bowie State University won an 11-year, $27 million award from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration/National Science Foundation to become one of only six national Model Institutions for Excellence in science, engineering and mathematics. This award significantly strengthened the institution's academic infrastructure and enhanced an already excellent computer science and technology program that continues to expand.

In 2005, Bowie State unveiled a supercomputer that had been built by faculty and students. It was the fastest supercomputer on any college campus in the state and the eighth fastest in the country. With this achievement, the University emerged as a leader among higher education institutions in computing power.

Among the nation's leaders in teacher education, with continuous accreditation by the National Council of the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) since 1956, Bowie State's legacy of producing outstanding teachers and school administrators continues to grow with recent graduates including county and state Teachers of the Year.

Today, Bowie State University enrolls a diverse student body of more than 5,400 and provides them with rigorous academic programs and the individual support they need to be prepared to compete in a changing world.

Campus and facilities[edit]

Martin Luther King, Jr. Communications Art Center

The campus comprises over 24 buildings with more than 988,897 square feet (92,000 m²) of space. The campus is located in Bowie, Maryland between the metropolitan areas of Baltimore (25 miles) and Washington D.C. (17 miles). An on-campus MARC Train station and Metrobus stops provide access to local transit. It is a wireless campus equipped with Wi-Fi and public computer labs across campus for student use.

Twenty-three percent of students live on campus in seven residence halls. Cultural performances, lectures and sporting events are among the frequent on campus events. Built in 1921, the oldest building still in use is Harriet Tubman Hall. Inaugurated in Fall of 2013, the newest addition to the Bowie State University campus is the 85,000 square foot Student Union Building, which replaced the old Wiseman Center.[6] Other recent improvements to the campus have been the construction (and opening) of the $71 million state-of-the-art Fine & Performing Arts Center, which boasted 123,000 square feet for art, music, dance, and theater programs.[7] The construction of the massive facility has reduced congestion within its former home, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Arts Center.

The $17.6 million School of Business and Graduate Studies building is another state-of-the-art facility that houses the Business, Accounting, Finance, Economics, and Management Departments, among others.[8] The campus boasts several other excellent facilities such as the campus include the Christa McAuliffe Residential Community (CMRC) apartments, the Computer Science Building, a state-of-the-art facility serving the computer science and computer technology programs, and the $6.5 million Center for Learning Technology (CLT), serving the College of Professional Studies.

On campus, the Bowie State Satellite Operations Control Center (BSOCC) is an orbiting satellite operation and control center allowing students to gain hands-on experience in such a facility. In 2003, the center went fully operational. It is a joint venture operated by the university, the Honeywell Corporation, and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD.[9]

In September 2007, the University began negotiations with Prince George's County for the transfer of 214 acres (0.87 km2) of land to the school. According to county documents, the land, valued at $1.3 million, would cost the University nothing if used "for educational uses including facilities that benefit the welfare of students and faculty in their educational experience at the University." The addition of this land would increase the size of the university by 63%. The main focus for the land is the development of additional student dorms. The land will also be used to establish several retail businesses that will cater to students and the community.[10]


Department of Public Safety[edit]

The Department of Public Safety (BSUDPS, BSUPD or Campus Police) is the primary law enforcement agency for the university and is charged with the protection of life and property in its 338.5 acres (1.370 km2) jurisdiction. The BSUPD is aided by the Prince George's County Police Department for major felonies and other incidents deemed appropriate by authority.

The BSUPD started its tenure as a security force at the university's conception on April 8, 1908 at the "Maryland Normal and Industrial School in Bowie" with an initial endowment of 187 acres (0.76 km2) of campus property.[11] All officers under the authority of the BSUDPS are "vested with full police authority under provisions of Title 13, Subtitle 6, Section 13-601, Educational Article, and Annotated Code of Maryland. In addition, police officers are granted additional jurisdictional authority as prescribed in the Criminal Procedure Act, Title 2, Subtitle 1, Section 2-102."[12]

The Department of Public Safety reports directly to the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and Campus Life. In addition to enforcing laws of the State of Maryland and statutes of Prince George's County, the BSUPD is charged with enforcing regulations of the University and, as such, regulations are enforced internally and handled by the Dean.[13][14]

The current Chief of Police/Director of Public Safety is Ernest L. Waiters. The BSUPD has a complement of:[15]

  • 7 sworn officers (not including the Chief)
  • 3 communications dispatchers
  • 10 public safety aides (non-sworn security personnel)

Student life[edit]


Bowie State's athletes compete in the Northern Division of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association, participating in the NCAA's Division II.

The Bulldogs play the following sports:[16]

  • Basketball
  • Bowling
  • Cross Country
  • Football
  • Indoor Track & Field
  • Outdoor Track & Field
  • Softball
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball

They compete and/or train on-campus in Bulldog Stadium, the Leonidas James Physical Education Complex, and A.C. Jordan Arena.[17]

Clubs and organizations[edit]

Bowie State has many academic clubs, fraternities, honor societies, organizations, sororities, and student associations on-campus. The computer, education, French, and history clubs are examples of the academic clubs. The art guild, concert and marching bands, jazz and brass ensembles, and others allow students to explore the fine and performing arts.

NPHC Organizations[edit]

Social Organizations[edit]

The honor societies represented at BSU include Delta Mu Delta, Lambda Pi Eta, and Sigma Tau Delta. The student newspapers, and The Spectrum, along with WBSU Radio allow for students to monitor campus events and news.[18]

The Symphony of Soul, also known as SOS, is the name of the marching/concert/pep band at Bowie State University. Adolph E. Wright is the Director of Bands at Bowie State University, where he has successfully built the SOS from 30 members, upon his arrival at BSU in 1998, to 185 members by the fall of 2001. Under the leadership of Mr. Wright the Symphony of Soul has received rave reviews following collegiate performances, as well as when representing the University abroad.

Each year, the SOS takes a trip to Montreal, Canada to perform for the Montreal Alouettes. During the fall, students always expect the usual impromptu parade through the campus by the SOS. They were also a part of the NFL 2007-2008 season opener as they performed the National Anthem with Aretha Franklin and shared the stage with other recording artist such as Aerosmith, Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige, and others. The SOS was featured in the Original Battle of the Bands held at RFK Stadium and its drumline was named as one of Showtime Magazines top ten amongst HBCU’s.

Notable alumni[edit]

Name Class year Notability Reference(s)
Joanne C Benson Maryland State Delegate [19]
Gwendolyn T. Britt Maryland State Senator, 2004 [20]
Toni Braxton attended, but not graduate Singer, Songwriter [21]
Towanda Braxton Singer, Songwriter and member of the singing group The Braxtons [22]
Isaac Redman NFL running back for Pittsburgh Steelers [23]
Wale Folarin 2004 Attended but not graduated DC Rapper [citation needed]
Henry Frazier, III 1989 head football coach at Bowie State University, Prairie View A&M University, and North Carolina Central University [24]
Christa McAuliffe Teacher-astronaut killed in space shuttle accident. She earned her master's degree at Bowie State. [25]

Notable faculty[edit]

Name Department Notability Reference
Brenda DoHarris English and Modern Languages Author, Professor of English [26]
Dr. Marymal Holmes, soprano Music opera singer, recitalist, Professor of Music and Voice [27]


  1. ^ [dead link][1]
  2. ^ Bowie State University - About Bowie State
  3. ^ The page cannot be found
  4. ^ "Welcome". The Maryland Center. 2008-01-03. Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  5. ^ [dead link][2]
  6. ^ "Bowie State University Student Center | Portfolio". 2013-10-17. Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  7. ^ "Bowie State University Fine and Performing Arts Center | OneNews". Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  8. ^ The page cannot be found
  9. ^ The page cannot be found
  10. ^ Bowie State University plans could bring new dorms, retail
  11. ^ [3][dead link]
  12. ^ [4][dead link]
  13. ^ [5][dead link]
  14. ^ Delegation brings home funds for police department
  15. ^ [6][dead link]
  16. ^ [7][dead link]
  17. ^ [8][dead link]
  18. ^ [9][dead link]
  19. ^ "Joanne C. Benson". Copyright December 03, 2013 Maryland State Archives. Retrieved 28 March 2014. 
  20. ^ "Gwendolyn T. Britt". Copyright February 20, 2013 Maryland State Archives. Retrieved 28 March 2014. 
  21. ^ "Toni Braxton". 2004-2014 by the Georgia Humanities Council and the University of Georgia Press. Retrieved 28 March 2014. 
  22. ^ "Towanda Braxton". 2014 Inc. Retrieved 28 March 2014. 
  23. ^ "Isaac Redman". Pro Football Retrieved 28 March 2014. 
  24. ^ "Henry Frazier, III". North Carolina Central University. Retrieved 28 March 2014. 
  25. ^ "Christa McAuliffe". NASA. Retrieved 28 March 2014. 
  26. ^ "Brenda DoHarris". College of Arts & Science, Bowie State University 2009. Retrieved 28 March 2014. 
  27. ^ "Marymal Holmes". 2014 Bowie State University. Retrieved 28 March 2014. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°01′18″N 76°45′25″W / 39.02158°N 76.75684°W / 39.02158; -76.75684