For the second year in a row, alumni from Bluefield College will form a running troupe called “Team Dean Dan” to compete in the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K in Richmond.
Like last year, when the team comes together this spring, Saturday, March 28, they won’t be so much concerned about how they compete or finish the 10K, but instead how well they pay tribute to the late Dan Bowman, a former Bluefield College dean of students, who succumbed to cancer in January 2014, but not before leaving a lasting influence on students from Bluefield College and residents of Greater Roanoke.
A native of Salem, Bowman came to Bluefield College first as a student in the fall of 1990. After earning his bachelor’s degree in psychology from BC in 1994, a master’s degree in counseling and human development from Radford University in 1996, and five years of service as a guidance counselor at Northside Middle School, Jefferson Forest High School, Liberty High School, and William Byrd High School, Bowman returned to Bluefield in 2001 to serve as dean of students.
“Dean Dan was not only a fantastic dean of students, but also a man who always had an open door and an open heart,” said BC alumnus Joey Giles (‘05). “He loved his job, and he loved us as students.”
During four years as dean of students, Bowman did more than love BC students. He spearheaded three major renovation projects for residence halls and the student activities center. He also increased retention and residential enrollment and installed a values-based living and learning program that included a campus-wide tobacco-free policy.
Bowman returned to his native Roanoke Valley in 2005 to become an associate dean of students at Radford University. He later served as principal of Craig County High School, but in 2011, he was diagnosed with myoepithelial carcinoma, a rare cancer of the soft tissue that he battled for three years while continuing to work and serve those around him. In fact, in the midst of his treatments, he and his wife, Staci, continued to coach his daughters, Maddie and Libby, in recreational lacrosse. He also remained a member of the Virginia Tech “chain gang” that worked down markers for Hokies football games.
Despite his valiant fight, Bowman succumbed to the cancer, passing away in January of 2014. As a tribute to his influence and service, Bluefield College alumni and friends created “Team Dean Dan” to run each year in the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K in Richmond.
Known as one of Virginia’s most historic races and “one of the best races in the country,” according to USA Today, the Monument Avenue 10K features more than 40,000 runners, and with its party stops, live music and post-race festivities, the 10K is also considered one of Virginia’s best social events of the year. And this year, Bluefield College alumni and friends will join the fun to pay tribute to Dean Dan.
“This is a great way we can continue to honor Dean Dan and his legacy,” said Bluefield College Alumni Director Mark Hipes. “The idea came from alumnus Aaron Peck (’03), and it gives all members of the Bluefield family an opportunity to fellowship, get a little exercise, and be a part of remembering and honoring Dan Bowman.”
For more information or to register for “Team Dean Dan,” visit bluefield.edu and click on the 10K banner. Next, on the race website, click the Monument Avenue 10K link and then the “register online” button, before “joining an existing team,” the Bluefield College team.
As part of the Bluefield College tribute gathering, alumni and friends are invited to meet the day before the race, Friday, March 27 from 8 to 10 p.m. at Buzz and Ned’s on Broad Street for fellowship, reminiscing, appetizers and drinks, courtesy of the BC Alumni Office.
In addition, after the race on Saturday, March 28, members of “Team Dean Dan” and other Bluefield College alumni and friends are encouraged to gather at the shelter in Monroe Park for a team picture and additional reunion time. To register for the pre- and/or post-race alumni gatherings, visit bluefield.edu.
– From Bluefield College