On December 28, 2016, MCB lost a great friend and ally when William K. (Bill) Bowes, Jr. passed away at the age of 90. He was known as a Silicon Valley and venture capital pioneer, as well as a philanthropist who supported biomedical research, college access, and the arts.
As one of Berkeley’s most generous benefactors, he supported the recruitment of outstanding early-career scientists to MCB through the Bowes Research Fellows Program that has supported four researchers to date, and for undergraduate scholarships for students from under-served communities. As one of the founding donors to the Incentive Awards Program (now known as the Fiat Lux Scholarship program), Bowes invested in one of California’s greatest assets: highly talented undergraduate students from the state’s most underserved communities.
He also championed the importance of basic scientific research, quietly providing Berkeley with resources to recruit outstanding early-career faculty to be part of the Bay Area’s scientific community. Professor Robert Tjian remembers “inspirational and always stimulating” lunches with his friend, whose humble, unassuming demeanor belied his sharp mind, clear vision, and uncommon generosity.
Bill Bowes will be remembered for his leadership, vision, modesty and warmth, and for championing students, faculty and researchers with ambition and bold ideas. He is survived by his wife, Ute, and extended family.