Bowie State University

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Bowie State University
Former names
Baltimore Normal School
Normal School No. 3.
Maryland Normal and Industrial School at Bowie
Maryland Teachers College at Bowie
Bowie State College
Type Public, HBCU
Established January 9, 1865 (1865-01-09)
Endowment $22,991,522
President Aminta H. Breaux
Provost Weldon Jackson, PhD. (Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs)
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students 5,669
Undergraduates 4,711
Postgraduates 958
Location Bowie, Maryland
Campus Suburban, 338½ acres (1.4 km²)
Colors Black and Gold
Athletics NCAA Division II
Nickname Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs
Affiliations Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association
Sports Basketball
Cross Country
Indoor Track & Field
Outdoor Track & Field
Mascot Bulldogs

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.


Bowie State University is the oldest 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 Sarasota Street, in Baltimore, Maryland.[5] In 1867, a dedicated facility was purchased nearby at Sarasota 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 from its insufficient Baltimore building 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] Over the subsequent years the school’s curriculum expanded significantly: 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, the school was renamed in 1935 as Maryland Teachers College at Bowie.[4] The college also offered increasing courses in the liberal arts.

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 reorganize and expand, especially in professional and STEM fields.[4][5] In 1992, Bowie State 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]


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.[7] 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.[8]

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,[9] 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 workstations and is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Telecommuting Center can be used by anyone.[10]

Bowie State University offers an honors program for academically talented and ambitious undergraduate students.[11]

Schools and departments[edit]

College of Arts and Sciences[12]

  • Communications
  • Computer Sciences
  • English and Modern Languages
  • Fine and Performing Arts
  • History and Government
  • Mathematics
  • Military Science
  • Natural Sciences

College of Business[12]

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

College of Education[12]

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

College of Professional Studies[12]

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

Campus and facilities[edit]

Martin Luther King, Jr. Communications Art Center

The campus comprises 23 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. [13]

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 (7,900 m2) Student Union Building, which replaced the old Wiseman Center.[14] Other recent improvements to the campus have been the construction (and opening) of the $71 million Fine & Performing Arts Center, which boasted 123,000 square feet for art, music, dance, and theater programs.[15] 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 facility that houses the Business, Accounting, Finance, Economics, and Management Departments, among others.[16] The campus boasts several other excellent facilities such as the campus include the Christa McAuliffe Residential Community (CMRC) apartments, the Computer Science Building, a 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.[17]

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.[18] 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.[18]


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.[19] 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."[20]

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.[21][22]

The current Chief of Police/Director of Public Safety is Ernest L. Waiters. As of 2008, the BSUPD has a complement of:[23]

  • Chief of Police
  • 7 sworn officers
  • 3 communications dispatchers
  • 10 public safety aides (non-sworn security personnel)


Official athletics logo.

Bowie State's athletes compete in the Northern Division of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association, participating 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.[24] The Bulldogs play the following sports:[25]

  • 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.[26] The Fitness Room in the Leonidas James Physical Education Complex also has open hours for students, faculty, and staff.[26]

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.[27]

BSU-TV Channel 74 is a cable television station that broadcasts around the clock for the BSU community.[28] The Bowie State radio station is WBSU.[28] Both stations are operated under the aegis of the Department of Communications.[29] They have converted from analog to digital technology.[28]


The Symphony of Soul, also known as SOS, is the name of the marching/concert/pep band at Bowie State University.[30] 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.[30] 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.[30] 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]

Notable faculty[edit]

Name Department Notability Reference
Brenda DoHarris English and Modern Languages Author, Professor of English [39]
Dr. Marymal Holmes, soprano Music opera singer, recitalist, Professor of Music and Voice [40]


  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. ^ "Programs of Study: All Programs". Bowie State University. Retrieved April 3, 2017. 
  8. ^ "Doctorate in Educational Leadership". Bowie State University. Retrieved April 3, 2017. 
  9. ^ "Welcome". The Maryland Center. 2008-01-03. Archived from the original on 2015-02-08. Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  10. ^ 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. 
  11. ^ "Undergraduate Honors Program: Program Requirements". Bowie State University. Retrieved April 3, 2017. 
  12. ^ a b c d "Academics & Research: Colleges". Bowie State University. Retrieved April 3, 2017. 
  13. ^ "Campus Map". Bowie State University. Retrieved July 7, 2017. 
  14. ^ "Bowie State University Student Center | Portfolio". The Kirlin Group. 2013-10-17. Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  15. ^ "Bowie State University Fine and Performing Arts Center". OneNews. Archived from the original on 2014-11-08. Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  16. ^ 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. 
  17. ^ Office of University Relations and Marketing (October 15, 2003). "OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE BOWIE STATE UNIVERSITY SATELLITE OPERATIONS CONTROL CENTER (BSOCC)" (PDF) (Press release). Bowie, Maryland: Bowie State University. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 5, 2006. 
  18. ^ 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. Retrieved April 3, 2017. 
  19. ^ "About BSU > Vision, Mission, & History". Bowie State University. Archived from the original on May 16, 2007. 
  20. ^ "Campus Police". Bowie State University. Retrieved April 3, 2017. 
  21. ^ "Bowie State University Department of Public Safety Authority". Bowie State University. Archived from the original on September 4, 2006. 
  22. ^ Flanagan, Jason (April 19, 2007). "Delegation brings home funds for police department; Glenn Dale gets $300,000 for business incubator". The Gazette. Post Community Media LLC. Retrieved April 3, 2017. 
  23. ^ "Staff". Student Affairs & Campus Life. Bowie State University. Archived from the original on January 17, 2008. 
  24. ^ "Facilities". Bowie State Bulldogs. Bowie State University Athletics. September 9, 2007. Retrieved April 3, 2017. 
  25. ^ "Bulldog Sports". Bowie State Bulldogs. Bowie State University Athletics. August 16, 2007. Retrieved April 3, 2017. 
  26. ^ a b "Intramural & Recreational Sports Program". Office of Student Life. Bowie State University. Retrieved April 3, 2017. 
  27. ^ "The Spectrum newspaper". College of Arts & Sciences > Departments > Communications. Bowie State University. Retrieved July 7, 2017. 
  28. ^ a b c "Radio and TV Stations". College of Arts & Sciences > Departments > Communications. Bowie State University. Retrieved April 3, 2017. 
  29. ^ "Communications". College of Arts & Sciences > Departments > Communications. Bowie State University. Retrieved April 3, 2017. 
  30. ^ a b c "SOS History". Symphony of Soul. Bowie State University. 2015. Retrieved April 3, 2017. 
  31. ^ "Joanne C. Benson". Maryland State Archives. December 3, 2013. Retrieved 28 March 2014. 
  32. ^ McLeod, Erin R. (August 13, 2013). "Toni Braxton (b. 1968)". the Georgia Humanities Council and the University of Georgia Press. Retrieved 28 March 2014. 
  33. ^ "Towanda Braxton". Inc. 2014. Retrieved 28 March 2014. 
  34. ^ "Gwendolyn T. Britt". Maryland State Archives. February 20, 2013. Retrieved 28 March 2014. 
  35. ^ "Henry Frazier, III". North Carolina Central University. Retrieved 28 March 2014. 
  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. 
  38. ^ "Isaac Redman". Pro Football Retrieved 28 March 2014. 
  39. ^ "Brenda DoHarris". College of Arts & Science, Bowie State University 2009. Archived from the original on 5 August 2013. Retrieved 28 March 2014. 
  40. ^ "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