Professors Recognized for Outreach

A recent article in the Salem Statesman Journal recognized two Willamette professors for their outreach in a rural African village.

After their daughter Elizabeth died in a bicycle accident while serving in the Peace Corps, Linda and Gerry Bowers began raising money for a library in the Zambian village where Elizabeth had lived. The 2,368-square-foot library - constructed by hand - was finished in March and contains more than 18,000 books. Solar panels will power computers and an electronic cataloguing system. Representatives from the Zambian Ministry of Education and Zambian Parliament plan to attend the library's dedication this week.

The library was a natural outgrowth of a scholarship program established by the professors in 2002. The Elizabeth Bowers Zambia Education Fund provides scholarships for girls in the village. Last year the program sponsored 93 girls in grades 8 through 12. Without scholarships, the students would have had to pay for schooling, a luxury most village families can't afford.

The Statesman Journal article notes that promoting education comes easily to the Bowers family - Gerry has been an English professor at Willamette for 38 years, and Linda for 23 years.

To learn more about their project, visit

To read the Statesman Journal article, go to