Dr. Karen Bowyer: 37 years at Dyersburg State Community College
JACKSON, TN (WNBJ)-
Dr. Karen Bowyer has been in education for nearly sixty years and president of Dyersburg State Community College for 37 years. Dr.Bowyer was a hard worker long before her career at Dyersburg State.
“I grew up in western Illinois on a farm, it was you know I grew up in the forties and the fifties with two brothers and my parents. And back then we had small family farms you know, we farmed about two-hundred and forty archers…a lot of work and we had our own animals, we were busy all the time…you know I left the farm to go to college I guess when I was about seventeen years old and you know it felt almost like I retired at seventeen,” says Dr.Karen Bowyer.
After college, Dr. Bowyer taught all across the nation and the globe. She taught at an American college in Columbia during her early career. Eventually, she ended up in Memphis at what was previously called Shelby State. She worked her way up the ranks and after twelve years was named interim president. From there she landed the job at Dyersburg State in 1984.
“and I was the first woman in this state in a public institution that was appointed as a president, so took a big change and it seems to have worked out I hope…you know it was really a great honor to be named of course," says Dr.Karen Bowyer.
She says that growing up with two brothers prepared her to work with men, “you know most of the rooms I was in with meetings were all men you know except me…when I came here all of the vice presidents were men, and now I have several vice presidents that are women.”
During her time at Dyersburg State Dr.Bowyer has accomplished a lot but one thing sticks out to her, “starting off-campus centers you know we started them really in the late 80’s the one in Gibson county in Trenton opened in 1991 and the second one we opened in 1996 the Jimmy Naphy center, so those two facilities have made a huge difference for people. You know I grew up in a rural area I appreciate the problems with distance and transportation, which is still a huge problem for this area. You know a lot of families have only one vehicle and it may not be available to go to school.”
Dyersburg state says they are thankful for Dr.Bowyer’s service and dedication to the community and the institution.