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Library Honored with Bowles Endowment for New Research Competition

Professor Bowles in front of the McKinley Building

American University Library is very pleased to announce the Vincenza and W. Donald Bowles Endowment for the Study of Productivity, Income and Poverty in the United States. The endowment will provide an annual award of $1,000 to an undergraduate or graduate student conducting research or other scholarly or artistic efforts to understand the relationships between productivity, income, and poverty. As Dr. Bowles states, “Widening income disparities and deep inequalities of wealth holdings highlight a classic source of friction in our democratic republic—namely, the need for continual reassessment of balancing collective government efforts to improve the human condition relative to private efforts toward the same end. How to achieve this appropriate balance is a question dating to our very founding as a nation.” AU Library has a rich collection of resources in economics, American studies, and other disciplines that students can apply to the study of these issues.

Learn more about the competition and award.

Professor Bowles received his MA in Economics and the Certificate of the Russian Institute at Columbia University in 1952. His appointment as Research Fellow at the Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base in 1955–1957 permitted completion of his PhD dissertation on the Soviet economy at Columbia. He joined American University as an Instructor in 1957. He was named Chair of the Department of Economics in 1961 and became Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in 1965. Four years later he was appointed Vice President for Academic Affairs, where he remained until 1973. At that time he received a one-year fellowship at Columbia University’s Institute on Communist Affairs. In 1974 he returned to full-time teaching, and retired in 1993. He moved in 2001 to California with his wife to be near family.

Professor Bowles views this endowment as an extension of his teaching career at AU. Dr. Bowles determined that the University Library is best suited to administer the award because it offers support for a student conducting research on poverty through any discipline or across multiple disciplines. As Acting Associate University Librarian Gwendolyn Reece, explains:

“The library is the one academic unit on campus that supports every academic field equally. A topic such as the problem of poverty cannot be fully understood from within the confines of a specific discipline. Often the most innovative work on the urgent and significant issues we face as human beings arises from combining approaches from multiple disciplinary discourses and their epistemologies ranging from the physical sciences to the arts. As such, the library is ideally situated to support this type of holistic research.”

The University Library is honored to receive this endowment which supports the library’s mission of enabling student success and pleased to provide a competition that builds on the success of the library’s other annual undergraduate student awards.