Bowman Education Scholarships Endow Student Futures

Profile photo of Darrell BowmanOne doesn’t become a teacher to get rich. Ordinarily, teachers who give back to Montana State do so modestly. But Darrell Bowman isn’t ordinary. While teaching was a career he loved, entrepreneurship has always been his passion.

Darrell has always had something on the side. In the 1970s, he started B&B Ice Company in Bozeman; he has been a partner in the Bridger Creek Golf Course; he’s picked cherries in the Flathead; and his children most remember the early morning paper route that they each helped run.

Hard work and smart saving has made it possible for Darrell to be so generous today. But his kind eyes give away the sense that, means or no means, Darrell would still be doing the right thing. After his wife, Joan, died tragically in 2006, Darrell established the Joan Bowman Scholarship at MSU, which is awarded to students pursuing K-12 library teaching certificates.

Student response to the scholarship has been the most rewarding part for Darrell. He is moved by the many thank you notes he has received over the years from students who have received a Joan Bowman scholarship.

“I realized that the money will be there for scholarships forever. For as long as Montana State is here,” he said.

In July 2016, Darrell approached Montana State again, this time to establish the Darrell Bowman Science Education Scholarship. The scholarship will be awarded to students in the general science broadfield degree program.

Education has always been part of Darrell Bowman’s life, although he admits that he didn’t plan it that way. Originally from Bowman, North Dakota (a coincidence of naming), Darrell attended Black Hills Teacher’s College to study agricultural education, but his original intent was to help take over his family’s farm. A diversion brought Darrell to Montana State College in Bozeman. The rising Vietnam War and his number 1 draft position sent Darrell to the atomic proving grounds in Nevada and a 15-month term in southern Germany as a member of the U.S. Army.Quote from Darrell Bowman, “The money will be there for scholarships forever. For as long as Montana State is here.”

When Darrell returned from the Army in 1958, he took a science teaching position in Forsyth. He soon met Joan in his hometown of Bowman and they married a year later. Some good luck brought Joan and Darrell to Bozeman, where they raised three boys and taught in the Bozeman Public Schools. Darrell’s students, 27 years’ worth of them at Bozeman Junior High, still run into him around town and remember the rock and mineral collections he helped them create, and the lessons he taught throughout the space age—remembering where they were during the first flight to the moon and the Challenger explosion. Joan was also a fixture in the school district as the head librarian at Whittier Elementary School.

For Darrell, the importance of education cannot be understated. In addition to his scholarships at MSU, he has provided four-year college funds to each of his grandchildren.

“If you don’t have a decent education, your chances of success are curtailed,” he said. “Most successful people owe their success to education.”

Education students at Montana State owe some of their success to Darrell Bowman.

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