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Forester News

Pioneering female professor to turn 100

Ann Bowen, professor of music at the College from 1952 to 1986, will turn 100 this month. Anyone who would like to send a greeting to one of the College’s pioneering women faculty members can email alumni@lakeforest.edu or drop off a card to the Office of Development and Alumni Relations, North Hall, third floor, by Monday, February 17.

Bowen joined the College in 1952 “at a time when women faced difficulties being hired as professors,” said Hotchkiss Presidential Professor of History and Director of Graduate Liberal Studies Dan LeMahieu.

Carol Gayle, associate professor of history and associate director of the Graduate Program in Liberal Studies, describes Bowen as an “academic pioneer who, along with her colleague and good friend, Rosemary Cowler of English, was a model for younger women who joined the faculty in the following years. Ann and Rosemary both rose through the ranks to full professor and both chaired their departments. They confirmed our belief that there was a place for women among leading faculty.” 

Bowen received her bachelor of music from Oberlin College, her master of arts from Columbia University, and her doctor of music from Northwestern University. Her career at Lake Forest College spanned 34 years, but Bowen’s history of fruitful experiences in music studies extends beyond teaching in a classroom. For example, she spent many summers, in between school years, studying music in different countries around the world.

In 2000, Bowen returned to Lake Forest College for a piano recital in the Lily Reid Holt Memorial for the first time since her retirement. In 2010, on her 90th birthday, Bowen returned again for another piano recital. In 2020, about to turn 100, the Lake Forest resident “remains indomitable,” LeMahieu said.

—Katy Knuckles ’21