Alumni Run 10K for Team Dean Dan
A group of alumni from Bluefield College formed a running team called “Team Dean Dan” to compete in the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K in Richmond, Virginia, March 29, but winning the race was not the primary objective of the BC runners.
May 5, 2014
Bluefield College’s Team Dean Dan (from left): Sara Hubble (’07), Brandon Caldwell (’02), Andy Berry (‘05), Justin Blunt (‘03), Sarah Nash Blunt (‘03), David Hobbs (’05), Sarah McCloud Clevenger (‘03), and Aaron Peck (’03).
Instead, the Bluefield College alumni were more concerned about the way in which they paid tribute to the late Dan Bowman, a former BC dean of students, who succumbed to cancer January 23, 2014, but not before leaving a lasting influence on students from Bluefield College and residents of Greater Roanoke, Virginia.
A native of Salem, Virginia, 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” for the Monument Avenue 10K.
“I had been thinking about Dean Dan and his family for a long time and wanted to do something to show support,” said 2003 BC alumnus Aaron Peck, who launched the initiative to create the tribute running team. “I thought this would be a fun way to pull some alumni together and honor Dan. As a husband, father and educator, Dean Dan inspired a lot of people, just in the way he lived his life. I know it isn’t much, but maybe running this race will give us an opportunity to share with others the kind of man he was.”
Joining Peck on “Team Dean Dan,” were fellow alumni Andy Berry (‘05), Justin Blunt (‘03), Sarah Nash Blunt (‘03), Brandon Caldwell (‘02), Sarah McCloud Clevenger (‘03), David Hobbs (‘05), and Sara Hubble (‘07). Co-sponsored by Ukrop’s, Martin’s and Sports Backers, the Monument Avenue 10K is one of Virginia’s most historic races and “one of the best races in the country,” according to USA Today. With more than 40,000 runners and its party stops, live music and post-race party, the 10K is also considered one of Virginia’s best social events of the year.
As part of the Bluefield College tribute, alumni and friends met the day before the race at Buzz and Ned’s in Richmond for fellowship, reminiscing, appetizers and drinks, courtesy of the BC Alumni Office. In addition, after the race they gathered at the shelter in Monroe Park for a team picture and additional reunion time.
“This was a great way to honor Dean Dan and his legacy,” said Bluefield College Alumni Director Mark Hipes. “It was also a great opportunity for the Bluefield family to fellowship, get a little exercise, and be a part of remembering and honoring Dan Bowman.”