Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts HistorySauer, Anne
Bowen, Eugene Bucklin, 1855-1952
Eugene Bucklin Bowen (1855-1952), E1876, a faithful alumnus, gave many gifts to the college during his lifetime, including the Bowen lions outside Barnum Hall, Bowen Gate, and the Bowen Chimes.
Born in Adams, Massachusetts, on November 22, 1855, Bowen moved to Cheshire, Massachusetts, before entering high school. At Tufts, Bowen held the only remunerative position the college had to offer a student during his time as an undergraduate, ringing the old College Bell on top of Ballou Hall. He dreamed of one day providing Tufts with a new, larger bell. However, the Class of 1898 presented the college with such a bell at their tenth reunion, leaving Bowen to bestow alternative gifts on his alma mater. Bowen was also manager of the Tufts football team. After being one of fourteen men to graduate from the School of Engineering in 1876, Bowen briefly served as principal of the high school in Adams, Massachusetts, before returning to work in his father's hay and grain business.
A faithful attendant of Tufts' commencement exercises and alumni days, Bowen presented the college with a pair of lion statues to stand guard outside of Barnum Museum in 1923, and with Bowen Gate in 1925. He also provided the funds for the memorial tablets of Hosea Ballou and Austin B. Fletcher, one of his classmates, at the north entrance of Ballou Hall, while sponsoring the construction of the columned porch at that entrance. During alumni festivities, Bowen, a descendant of eleven Revolutionary War soldiers, would don the uniform of the color guard of the Massachusetts State Society, Sons of the American Revolution, and parade around the campus with a replica of the 1776 Bennington Battle flag.
In 1924, Bowen was made a life trustee of the college. The class of 1926 invited him to be an honorary member of their class, honoring him for his unwavering loyalty on the fiftieth anniversary of his graduation. He had been the organizer and past president of the Berkshire Tufts Club, in addition to his duties as a trustee. The same year, he gave his greatest gift to the school, a set of chimes to be played from the tower of Goddard Chapel.
Bowen died April 19, 1952, at his home in Cheshire, following a long illness. At the time of his death, he was the oldest living Tufts alumnus, and the only living member of the class of 1876.
Source: VF; TW, April 25, 1952; History of Music in Tufts College, 339; Afield with a Camera Bowen, A loyal Tufts Man, Melville S. Munro; Tuftonian, June 1952
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