Bowie State University

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Bowie State University
Bowie State University.svg
TypePublic historically black university
EstablishedJanuary 9, 1865 (1865-01-09)
Parent institution
University System of Maryland
EndowmentUS$33 million
PresidentAminta H. Breaux
ProvostCarl Goodman
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Location, ,
CampusSuburban, 338½ acres (1.4 km²)
Colors    Black and gold
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division II
Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association
MascotButch the Bulldog

Bowie State University is a public historically black university in Prince George's County, Maryland, north of Bowie. It is part of the University System of Maryland. Founded in 1865, 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. In terms of demographics, the Bowie State student population is 61% female, and 82% Black or African American.


Bowie State University is the oldest Historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) in Maryland[3] It was founded in 1865 by the Baltimore Association for the Moral and Educational Improvement of Colored People as a teaching school.[4][5] The school first used space at the African Baptist Church at Calvert Street and Saratoga Street, in Baltimore, Maryland.[5] In 1867, a dedicated facility was purchased nearby at Saratoga Street and Courtland Street, and the school was formally named the Baltimore Normal School for Colored Teachers.[4][6] After being reorganized in 1883 as the Baltimore Normal School, it educated African Americans to be teachers for African American students until 1908.[5] At that time, the school became a state institution of teaching under the Maryland State Department of Education and was redesignated as a Normal School No. 3.[4][5]

Shortly thereafter, in 1910, the school moved to the Jericho Farm, a 187-acre campus in Prince George's County.[4][5] About 60 students lived in the old farmhouse.[3] The school was renamed in 1914 as the Maryland Normal and Industrial School at Bowie.[4][5] A two-year professional degree was added in 1925, a three-year program in 1931, a four-year program for elementary school teachers in 1935, a four-year program for junior high school teachers in 1951, and a four-year program for secondary school teachers in 1961.[4] In recognition of its principal role, the school was renamed in 1935 as Maryland Teachers College at Bowie.[4]

In 1963, Bowie State College was officially named a liberal arts school – with additional majors in English, history, and social science – although emphasis remained on teacher education.[4] A Master's degree in education was added in 1969.[4]

The school was renamed Bowie State University in 1988, as a member of the University System of Maryland.[4] In the subsequent decades, Bowie continued to expand, especially in professional and Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.[4][5] In 1992, it became the first HBCU to expand overseas, with graduate programs for military personnel stationed abroad.[1] By 2017, the school offered 20+ undergraduate majors and 30+ advanced degrees or certificate programs.[4]

In the October 29, 2015 of The Economist magazine's first ever rating of Colleges in America, which was based on an statistical estimate for each college based exclusively on factors such as average SAT scores, sex ratio, race breakdown, college size, whether a university was public or private, and the mix of subjects students chose to study versus how much money its former students would make. Bowie State University ranked #61 on the list and was # 1 in the State of Maryland.[7]

In 2020, MacKenzie Scott donated US$25 million to Bowie State. Her donation is the largest single gift in Bowie State's history.[8]


BSU has 22 undergraduate majors, 19 master's programs, two doctoral programs, and 14 certificate programs in disciplines as diverse as computer science, education, human resource development, organizational communication, and nursing.[9] In partnership with the University of Maryland University College, it 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.[10]

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 visual communication and digital media arts (VCDMA), music technology and a strengthened computer science department have been added. Recently the university added concentrations in fashion design, advertising design, animation, digital filmmaking and more.

The university is home to The Maryland Center,[11] 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.[12]

Bowie State University offers an honors program for academically talented and ambitious undergraduate students.[13]

Schools and departments[edit]

The Bowie State torch

College of Arts and Sciences[14]

  • Communications
  • Computer Science
  • Fine and Performing Arts
  • History and Government
  • Language, Literature & Cultural Studies
  • Mathematics
  • Military Science
  • Natural Sciences
  • Technology & Security

College of Business[14]

  • Accounting, Finance, and Economics
  • Management Information Systems
  • Management, Marketing, and Public Administration

College of Education[14]

  • Counseling
  • Educational Leadership
  • Teaching, Learning, and Professional Development

College of Professional Studies[14]

  • Behavioral Sciences and Human Services
  • Nursing
  • Psychology
  • Social Work

Campus and facilities[edit]

The Center for Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Nursing at Bowie State University
The Center for Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Nursing
Aerial view of Bowie State University Campus, front entrance
Aerial view of Bowie State University Campus
Aerial view of Bowie State University Campus
Aerial view of Bowie State University athletic fields

The campus comprises 23 buildings with more than 988,897 square feet (92,000 m2) of space. It 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. There are Wi-Fi and public computer labs across campus for student use.[15]

Twenty-three percent of students live on campus in seven residence halls. Campus events include cultural performances, lectures and sporting events. The oldest building still in use is Harriet Tubman Hall, built in 1921. The 85,000 sq ft (7,900 m2) Student Union Building, which replaced the old Wiseman Center, was inaugurated in 2013.[16] Other recent improvements to the campus have been the US$71 million Fine & Performing Arts Center, with 123,000 square feet for art, music, dance, and theater programs,[17] replacing the former Martin Luther King, Jr., Arts Center.

The US$17.6 million Center for Business and Graduate Studies houses the College of Business, Graduate School, Graduate Admissions Office, the BSU Entrepreneurship Academy and the Bowie Business Innovation Center, the first business accelerator to open at a Maryland HBCU.[18] Other facilities include the Christa McAuliffe Residential Community (CMRC) apartments, the Computer Science Building, a facility serving the computer science and computer technology programs, and the US$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 2003, he 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, Maryland.[19]

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.[20] According to county documents, the land, valued at US$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.[20]


Official athletics logo.

Bowie State's athletes compete in the Northern Division of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association, in the NCAA's Division II. They compete and/or train on-campus in Bulldog Stadium, the Leonidas S. James Physical Education Complex, and the A. C. Jordan Arena.[21] The Bulldogs play the following sports:[22]

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

In addition, BSU sponsors athletic clubs for students at the intramural and recreational levels.[23] The Fitness Room in the Leonidas James Physical Education Complex also has open hours for students, faculty, and staff.[23]

Student life[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.

Fraternities and sororities[edit]

National Pan-Hellenic Council organizations

Social organizations

Honor societies The honor societies represented at BSU include:


As of 2017, Bowie State has one student newspaper: The Spectrum.[24]

BSU-TV Channel 74 is a cable television station that broadcasts around the clock for the BSU community,[25] and WBSU Bulldog Nation Radio streams programming online.[25] Both stations are operated under the aegis of the Department of Communications.[26] They have converted from analog to digital technology.[25] WBSU Bulldog Nation Radio was launched in 2018 with support from Maryland-based Radio One.[27]


The Symphony of Soul, also known as SOS, is the name of the marching/concert/pep band at Bowie State University.[28] 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, Quebec, Canada, to perform for the Alouettes de Montréal. 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.[28] The SOS was featured in the Original Battle of the Bands held at RFK Stadium. The SOS drumline was named as one of Showtime Magazine's top ten amongst HBCU's.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b Bowie State University Fact Book 2003-2004 (PDF), Bowie State University, September 2004, archived from the original (PDF) on December 10, 2005
  2. ^ "About Bowie State University". Bowie State University. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Bowie State University - Archives & Special Collections Digital Materials". HBCU Library Alliance Digital Collection: A Digital Collection Celebrating the Founding of the Historically Black College and University. HBCU Library Alliance. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Bowie State University History". Bowie State University. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Gill, Wanda Eileen; Kosub, Mariann (2006). "History of School of Education". Institute of Education Sciences. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  6. ^ Thornton, Alvin; Gooden, Karen (1997). Like a Phoenix I'll Rise: An Illustrated History of African Americans in Prince George's County, Maryland, 1696-1996. Donning Company Publishers. ISBN 9780898659849.
  7. ^ "Where's best? New federal data reveal which colleges do most for their graduates' pay-packets. They are not the ones you might expect". The Economist. October 31, 2015. Retrieved 2018-07-17.
  8. ^ "MacKenzie Scott, ex-wife of Jeff Bezos, donates millions to Maryland and Virginia HBCUs". 15 December 2020.
  9. ^ "Programs of Study: All Programs". Bowie State University. Retrieved April 3, 2017.
  10. ^ "Doctorate in Educational Leadership". Bowie State University. Retrieved April 3, 2017.
  11. ^ "Welcome". The Maryland Center. 2008-01-03. Archived from the original on 2015-02-08. Retrieved 2014-08-14.
  12. ^ University Relations and Marketing (February 25, 2005). "Bowie State University Telecommuting Center Announces Free One-Month Trial Offer to Federal Employees" (PDF) (Press release). Bowie, Maryland: Bowie State University. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 5, 2006.
  13. ^ "Undergraduate Honors Program: Program Requirements". Bowie State University. Retrieved April 3, 2017.
  14. ^ a b c d "Academics & Research: Colleges". Bowie State University. Retrieved April 3, 2017.
  15. ^ "Campus Map". Bowie State University. Retrieved July 7, 2017.
  16. ^ "Bowie State University Student Center". The Kirlin Group. 2013-10-17. Archived from the original on 2014-03-31. Retrieved 2014-08-14.
  17. ^ "Bowie State University Fine and Performing Arts Center". OneNews. Archived from the original on 2014-11-08. Retrieved 2014-08-14.
  18. ^ University Relations and Marketing (September 14, 2005). "Maryland Lt. Governor to Join Bowie State University President in Groundbreaking Ceremony; BSU Center for Business and Graduate Studies to Open January 2007" (PDF) (Press release). Bowie, Maryland: Bowie State University. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 4, 2007.
  19. ^ Office of University Relations and Marketing (October 15, 2003). "OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE BOWIE SATELLITE OPERATIONS CONTROL CENTER (BSOCC)" (PDF) (Press release). Bowie, Maryland: Bowie State University. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 5, 2006.
  20. ^ a b Valentine, Daniel (August 23, 2007). "Bowie State University plans could bring new dorms, retail; College is in negotiation with county for more land". The Gazette. Post Community Media LLC. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved April 3, 2017.
  21. ^ "Facilities". Bowie State Bulldogs. Bowie State University Athletics. September 9, 2007. Retrieved April 3, 2017.
  22. ^ "Bulldog Sports". Bowie State Bulldogs. Bowie State University Athletics. August 16, 2007. Retrieved April 3, 2017.
  23. ^ a b "Intramural & Recreational Sports Program". Office of Student Life. Bowie State University. Archived from the original on April 4, 2017. Retrieved April 3, 2017.
  24. ^ "The Spectrum newspaper". College of Arts & Sciences > Departments > Communications. Bowie State University. Retrieved July 7, 2017.
  25. ^ a b c "Radio and TV Stations". College of Arts & Sciences > Departments > Communications. Bowie State University. Retrieved April 3, 2017.
  26. ^ "Communications". College of Arts & Sciences > Departments > Communications. Bowie State University. Retrieved April 3, 2017.
  27. ^ Chambers, Damita (April 18, 2018). "Bowie State University to Launch WBSU Bulldog Radio, Thanks to Radio One Support" (Press release). Bowie, Maryland: Bowie State University. Retrieved August 1, 2021.
  28. ^ a b "SOS History". Symphony of Soul. Bowie State University. 2015. Retrieved April 3, 2017.
  29. ^ "The Great Rap Hope". The Washington Post.
  30. ^ "Joanne C. Benson". Maryland State Archives. December 3, 2013. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  31. ^ McLeod, Erin R. (August 13, 2013). "Toni Braxton (b. 1968)". the Georgia Humanities Council and the University of Georgia Press. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  32. ^ "Towanda Braxton". Inc. 2014. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  33. ^ "Gwendolyn T. Britt". Maryland State Archives. February 20, 2013. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  34. ^ "Henry Frazier, III". North Carolina Central University. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  35. ^ "House of Delegates". State of Maryland. Retrieved 2021-06-02.
  36. ^ "Delano Johnson - 2011 Football". Bowie State Bulldogs. Archived from the original on June 23, 2016. Retrieved June 22, 2016.
  37. ^ "S. CHRISTA CORRIGAN MCAULIFFE, TEACHER IN SPACE PARTICIPANT (DECEASED)". Biographical Data. NASA. Retrieved 28 March 2014. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  38. ^ "Elizabeth G. (Susie) Proctor, Maryland State Delegate".
  39. ^ "Isaac Redman". Pro Football 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