Dr. Frank Bowe (1946-2007) enjoyed a diverse career as disability activist and leader, government administrator, businessman, and scholar. At the time of his death, he was a Professor in the Counseling, Research, Special Education and Rehabilitation Department at Hofstra University, having joined the faculty there in 1989. From 1995, he was the Special Education Coordinator at Hofstra. Before joining the faculty at Hofstra in 1989, Dr. Bowe served as a Regional Commissioner of the U.S. Department of Education’s Rehabilitation Services Administration, a position to which he was appointed by Justin Dart. From 1984 to 1986 he was the Chairman of the U.S. Congress Commission on Education of the Deaf.
Dr. Bowe’s teaching at Hofstra focused on inclusion, technology in education and meeting K-12 special needs students. Outside the classroom, he tirelessly researched how all of society – not just schools – can better accommodate people with disabilities.
In the disability community, Dr. Bowe was perhaps best known for his leadership as Executive Director of the American Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities from 1976 to 1981. He was the organization’s first executive officer and provided crucial direction during the nation-wide sit-ins regarding Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act in 1977. Subsequently, Dr. Bowe helped ACCD achieve gains in housing, transportation, and special education.
An expert grant writer, Bowe’s writing also fostered the growth of the disability rights movement, including : Coalition Building: A Report on a Feasibility Study to Develop a National Model for Cross-Disability Communication and Cooperation (1978) and Planning Effective Advocacy Programs (1979). Rehabilitating America: Toward Independence for Disabled and Elderly People (1980) was a pioneering analysis of disability in America. Dr. Bowe wrote 30 books, including studies of personal computer design, social policy on age and disability, demographics, and public interest advocacy.
For over two decades Bowe was a consultant to the U.S. Congress on a variety of issues. In 1992, he received the Distinguished Service Award from the President for his lifetime achievement. In 1994, he was inducted into the National Hall of Fame for People with Disabilities. Hofstra University presented him with the Distinguished Teaching Award in 1996. Dr. Bowe was named in Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Education, Who’s Who in Computing, and Who’s Who in Public Relations.