In the sixth grade, John P. Bowers III ’20 decided he wanted to be President of the United States. And, for years, the Texas native planned to attend an in-state university to help him achieve this goal.
Then he met a Morehouse Man, the Rev. Bryant X. Phelps ’13.
“He suggested I go to Morehouse several years after my mother (a Spelman alumna) first mentioned the institution to me,” Bowers said. “But the realization that I really wanted to go to Morehouse came to me after I attended Admitted Students Weekend in the spring of 2016.”
Bowers, now a Morehouse Man in the Class of 2020, vividly recalls sitting in the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center that weekend, and hearing John Silvanus Wilson ’79, then Morehouse President, say: “There is no choice but Morehouse because this is the only school that will change your mindset and make you a global citizen.”
That line stuck with the high school senior.
“Coming from Texas, which prides itself on being its own nation before becoming a state, it showed me that Texas wasn’t the be all and end all,” he said. “You can be a global citizen on the Earth.”
Through Morehouse connections and internships, Bowers has traveled to six states and found a new career. This month, he began working full time for JP Morgan Chase & Co. in the sports entertainment marketing division in Dallas.
After competing his degree in economics and political science at Morehouse last spring, Bowers next plans to earn both a master’s degree and a juris doctorate. “An MBA is functional to work at a place like JP Morgan,” he explained. “The juris doctorate is for validation within the political world.”
Bowers became acquainted with politics as a young man, through his mother, Texas State Rep. Rhetta Andrews Bowers (D-Garland). He worked phone banks for President Obama, and helped his mother campaign for Wendy Davis, who was running for governor of Texas. Being around strong, black politicians has always been in in my world,” he said. “It’s something you can’t run away from.”
It’s no surprise, then, that Bowers was elected Morehouse Student Government Association (SGA) president for this past academic year—an office he decided to run for when he was still a senior in high school. “I wanted to show that I had the leadership capacity to lead an entire institution to new heights,” he said, “instead of being looked at as the leader of minority students at a predominately white institution.”
Bowers also proved to be a Morehouse leader in other ways, as sophomore class president, a student representative on the College Board of Trustees, president of Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, and a participant in the JPMorgan Chase Launching Leaders Program. In addition to such leadership roles, Bowers’ honors include being named this year’s top economics scholar, receiving a Lux Award for excellence, and earning a Phi Beta Kappa key.
He was also inducted into the Alpha Lambda Delta first-year honor society, Sigma Alpha Pi society for leadership and success, and Omicron Delta Epsilon, the international honor society for economics.
Bowers credits his in-depth involvement with Morehouse New Student Orientation program as being integral to his success. And Robert Brown, Ph.D., Bowers argumentation and debate professor, sharpened my mind that extra 10 percent so that I now have even more confidence graduating from the institution as a Morehouse Man.
As Bowers begins the next chapter of his life, he wanted to give a special message to the incoming men of Morehouse, arriving in what Bowers calls such “a momentous time.”
His advice for incoming freshmen and transfer students is to grasp the value of a Morehouse education, and work for it steadfastly. “Understand what your goal is, and don’t fall off the tracks, because if you keep going for it, you’ll get there,” he emphasized. “Don’t let anything deter you, like the strenuous times or being isolated. You never know what benefits this Morehouse education will give you."
More about John. P. Bowers III in his words ...
Major whilte at Morehouse: Economics
Minor while at Morehouse: Political Science
Name of the Professor Integral to My Success: Dr. Robert Brown was integral to my success because of the quote, 'It’s not how you start but how you finish.' Dr. Brown was my argumentation and debate professor during my last semester at Morehouse. In that short time, he left his mark on my trajectory as a Morehouse scholar. As a senior, you feel like you’ve mastered all things Morehouse College academically, but in his space of instruction, I continued to be challenged academically and mentally.
Senior Awards Received: I was honored as a top scholar in the Economics Department and received a Lux Award for Excellence in Student Leadership and Devotion to Morehouse College.