Bowen Distinguished Career

The Howard R. Bowen Distinguished Career Award will be presented in recognition of a professional life devoted in substantial part to the study of higher education and a career that has significantly advanced the field through extraordinary scholarship, leadership, and service. The award is usually presented at, or near, the time of the individual's retirement.

About Dr. Bowen

Howard R. Bowen (1908-1989) was R. Stanton Avery Professor of Economics and Education at The Claremont Graduate University. A scholar of economics, an authority on the economics of higher education, and a leader in American higher education, he received numerous awards. These included the 1985 Distinguished Service to Education Award of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), considered to be the top recognition award in the field of higher education, and both the Distinguished Research Award and the Distinguished Career Award of the Association for the Study of Higher Education.

When he joined the Graduate School Faculty in Economics in 1969, Bowen brought with him a remarkable record of service in government, business, and university teaching and administration. He was chief economist of the Joint Congressional Committee on Internal Revenue Taxation from 1944 to 1945 and economist for the Irving Trust Company, a Wall Street bank, from 1945 to 1947. In 1961, President Kennedy appointed him to head a review of the U.S. aid program in Thailand and to serve on the U.S. Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations. In 1964, President Johnson named him chair of the National Committee on Technology, Automation, and Economic Progress.

Bowen taught economics at the University of Iowa, the University of Illinois, and Williams College. He was president of Grinnell College from 1955 to 1964 and of the University of Iowa from 1964 to 1969.

In 1970, Bowen became president and then chancellor of Claremont University Center, serving four years in that capacity, and then returned to the classroom in 1974. In 1983, his book, The State of the Nation and the Agenda for Higher Education, received the Ness Book Award, given annually to the book judged to be the most significant contribution to studies on liberal education published during the preceding year. American Professors: A National Resource Imperiled, co-authored with CGU Professor Jack Schuster, was published in 1986 and also received the Ness Book Award. His fourteenth book, Academic Recollections (1988), recounts many aspects of his extraordinary career.

In tribute to Howard Bowen following his death, Clark Kerr, former president of the University of California, described Bowen as “the moral mentor for all of us” and “the Chief Justice of American Higher Education.” His many friends in Claremont concur.

Nominations for 2024 are now open and will close on Monday, July 1, 2024 at Noon Central/Minneapolis time.

Nomination Evaluation Criteria

When reviewing nominations, the awards committee will make decisions based on the following preferred and demonstrated attributes:

  1. A robust research and publication record 
  2. Impact on the field of higher education (scholarship and/or practice through scholarship)
  3. Leadership of a research center, organization, institution, and/or association
  4. Teaching and mentoring
  5. Service to the field of higher education at, or near, the time of the individual's retirement.

2024 Awards Timeline

  • Nominations for 2024 are now open and will close on Monday, July 1, 2024 at Noon Central/Minneapolis time.
    Due to the number of submissions and the review process, no late submissions will be accepted; as such, nominators are encouraged to submit their nominations well in advance of this deadline.
  • Nominators and nominees will be informed of decisions in mid-September.
  • An announcement of recipients will be sent to the ASHE membership in late September.
  • The recipient(s) will be recognized during the ASHE Awards Ceremony during the Annual Conference.

Nomination Requirements

Each submission will need:

  • Name, Title, Position, Institution, Email, and Phone Number of Coordinating Nominator
  • Name, Title, Position, Institution, Email, and Phone Number of Nominee
  • A nomination statement up to 750 words that demonstrates the nominee's match to the award evaluation criteria. This should not be a nomination or support letter, but a summary of the nominee's qualifications for this specific award.
  • 2-3 letters of support. For upload into the nomination form, these should be combined into one document, preferably a pdf.
  • The nominee's CV.

Due to the increased number of nominations received in recent years, each nominee will be limited to one nomination. In the event multiple nominations are submitted, the committee chair will notify the coordinating nominators requesting they consolidate their nominations.

The coordinating nominator, as well as the award nominee(s) (and subsequently recipient(s)), must be current members of ASHE.

Questions about the 2024 award process can be sent to

Nominations for 2024 are now open and will close on Monday, July 1, 2024 at Noon Central/Minneapolis time.

Awards Committee

The ASHE Awards Committee is a standing committee of the Board of Directors. Committee members are recommended by the President to the Board of Directors and service 1-3 year terms.

2024 Committee Members:

  • Raquel Rall (Chair), University of California, Riverside
  • Jennifer Johnson (Board Rep), Temple University
  • Emily VanZoest (Grad Rep), North Carolina State University
  • Matthew Witenstein, University of Dayton
  • Julie Park, University of Maryland, College Park
  • Sylvia Martinez, Indiana University

Past Recipients

2023: Jim Hearn

Additional Recipients

  • 2022: Linda Serra Hagedorn (YouTube Link)
  • 2021: Laura I. Rendón (YouTube Link)
  • 2020: Estela Mara Bensimon (YouTube Link)
  • 2019: Zelda Gamson (YouTube Link)
  • 2018: William G. Tierney (YouTube Link)
  • 2017: Michael Olivas
  • 2016: Debra Bragg
  • 2015: George D. Kuh
  • 2014: Sheila Slaughter
  • 2013: Ronald G. Ehrenberg
  • 2012: Daryl G. Smith
  • 2011: Walter R. Allen
  • 2010: Patrick T. Terenzini
  • 2009: Kenneth A. Feldman
  • 2008: Philip G. Altbach
  • 2007: Jack H. Schuster
  • 2006: Martin Trow
  • 2005: Robert Birnbaum
  • 2004: Yvonna Lincoln
  • 2003: Ernest T. Pascarella
  • 2002: Marvin W. Peterson
  • 2001: Helen S. Astin
  • 2000: Arthur Chickering
  • 1999: Joan S. Stark
  • 1998: Arthur Cohen
  • 1997: Burton Clark
  • 1996: Alexander W. Astin
  • 1995: William Toombs
  • 1994: Robert Silverman
  • 1993: Robert O. Berdahl
  • 1992: K. Patricia Cross
  • 1991: Cameron Fincher
  • 1989: Mary Corcoran & Robert Pace
  • 1987: Lewis Mayhew & Joseph Kauffman
  • 1986: David Riesman
  • 1985: Howard R. Bowen