The Dan Leslie Bowden Fellowships in the Humanities honor a legendary Ransom Everglades career that began in 1955 and continued until Mr. Bowden's death on Sept. 14, 2018, while also providing an invaluable educational opportunity for select Ransom Everglades students.
For 63 years, Mr. Bowden served Ransom Everglades as an inspirational teacher of English, gifted educational administrator, valued advisor to the head of school, and most importantly, mentor to thousands of students and faculty. His unabashed love of language and literature, combined with a passionate and inspiring advocacy for the humanities, provided the intellectual foundation for generations of students.
That very passion and advocacy motivated these special fellowships. A generous endowment gift by Jeffrey Miller '79, who studied under Mr. Bowden, created the fellowship program in June 2016, allowing select students with a range of financial grants to pursue advanced summer studies in the humanities. All students in 11th grade are eligible to apply for Bowden fellowships to be used in the summer prior to their final year at Ransom Everglades. In the fall of their senior year, all Bowden fellows will present a summary of their research or project experience to the Ransom Everglades community and submit a written synopsis of their work.
The Bowden fellowship grants help support the expenses of advanced study in the humanities that may include, but not be restricted to, travel costs, fellowship related program fees and study materials. The Bowden Fellowship Committee, which until his death included Mr. Bowden, most favors proposals that project courage in the passionate pursuit of what makes us human.
2020 BOWDEN FELLOWS SHARE THEIR PROJECTS
The 2020 Dan Leslie Bowden Fellows in the Humanities met the disruption caused by the COVID-19 outbreak with determination and creativity: The pandemic scuttled their travel plans, interview schedules and original objectives, but it did not upend their projects. The 11 fellows recast and refocused their work, weathering delays but avoiding derailment. At an all-school assembly on November 23, the fellows shared their inspiring accomplishments during the summer and into the fall – as most continued work on their revised projects.
While all of the Bowden fellows spent their summers creating original work, their activities and ideas did not emerge without the input and inspiration of others. We are extremely thankful to Jeffrey Miller ’79, whose generous endowment gift to the school has created opportunities for our students that, in the words of one fellow, have been “life changing” and “otherwise would not have been possible.” We appreciate the work of the fellowship committee members — Dean of the Junior Class Tom Dughi, Associate Head of School John King, Humanities Department Chair Jen Nero, Assistant Dean for Student Activities Corinne Rhyner, Upper School History & Social Sciences Department Coordinator Jonathan Scholl, and Advisor to the Head of School Mr. Bowden himself, who took an active role in the fellowships until his death on Sept. 14, 2018 — as well as that of the parents, professionals, artists and alumni who engaged our fellows.
Dan Leslie Bowden’s sharp intellect and sense of humor, his high expectations coupled with caring and compassion, the humility of his teaching and the honest way he lived, and his deep curiosity about the humanities and his lifelong quest to come closer to knowing what is really meaningful made possible these fellowships. He also enhanced the lives of so many by encouraging them to hold themselves accountable to higher truths and to wonder. He helped to create the culture of learning at Ransom Everglades, where we all strive to help others be their best selves — intellectually, morally, aesthetically — that is, to embody at all times, the best of what it means to be human.