A-Z Index

Dr. B.D. Owens, 1977-1984

B.D. OwensDr. Robert D. Owens earned a bachelor's degree at Northwest in 1959 and was the first alumnus to later lead the institution. He returned to lead Northwest in 1977 after serving as president at the University of Tampa. During his seven years at Northwest, Owens succeeded in strengthening academic programs, boosting enrollment and improving the institution's fiscal outlook.

An avid environmentalist, he also took the first steps toward developing an alternative fuels program, which has since saved the University millions of dollars in energy costs.

The signal moment of Owens' tenure was the devastating 1979 Administration Building fire. Rather than restore the gutted north wing of the structure, he embarked on a campaign to build anew, which resulted in state funding for a new library – now the B.D. Owens Library – and a performing arts center, now known as the Ron Houston Center for the Performing Arts.