William H. Bowen

From FranaWiki

William H. "Bill" Bowen is retired president, chairman, and chief executive officer of First Commercial Bank and First Commercial Corporation in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Bowen was born in Altheimer, Arkansas, where he later graduated from high school. He was a fighter pilot during the Second World War. In 1954 he became a partner in the firm of Smith, Williams, Friday, and Bowen. In 1971 Bowen became the president of Commercial National Bank (now Regions Bank). While serving as president, Commercial National Bank became the largest bank in Arkansas.

Bowen later became involved in politics and went on to become Chief of Staff under former president Bill Clinton. After his appointment as Chief of Staff from 1991 to 1992, Bowen stayed active in local politics by serving on the Small Business Administration's National Advisory Council, National Advisory Board of First Commercial Bank, National Committee for Employer Support of the National Guard and Reserves, and the Arkansas Research Center. He also held positions as president and chief executive of Healthsource Arkansas Ventures Inc. and board director of First Commercial Corporation. He has been on more than one desegregation committee (one for Little Rock School system and another for the Country Club of Little Rock), and has held position with the finance committee CALL ("Committee Against Legalized Lotteries").

In 1995 Bowen became dean of the UALR law school. He resigned from his position in 1997, and was succeeded by Charles W. Goldner Jr., the school’s associate dean. Three years after his resignation, in 2000, the Bowen School of Law was named in his honor. Many prominent businessmen and political figures attended the colleges’ dedication; B. Alan Sugg, Secretary Rodney Slater, Senator Blanche Lincoln, Senator David Pryor, Senator Mark Pryor, Senator Dale Bumpers, Congressman Marion Berry, and Mayor Jim Dailey were among those present. Former President Bill Clinton spoke at the event. As he reminisced about his presidential campaign, Clinton stated, “I can honestly say, my friend Bill, if it hadn't been for you, I could not have done it. And I hope you're proud of what has happened in America for the last 8 years. Because your decision to be a selfless public servant made it all possible, and I thank you for that.”

2006 saw the publication of Bowen’s book, The Boy from Altheimer: From the Depression to the Boardroom. Bowen continues to actively support Bill Clinton. He currently serves on the board of directors for the Clinton Birthplace Foundation, which is located in Hope, Arkansas.


  • Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, September 23, 1990.
  • Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, January 17, 1991.
  • Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, March 24, 1991.
  • Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, September 26, 1991.
  • "Commercial ex-chief to stay as consultant," Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, April 10, 1991.
  • "Earnings are Up 18% at First Commercial Retiring Board Member Honor Ed at Annual Meeting," Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, April 17, 1996.
  • "New Panel Sets Out to Meet LRSD Desegregation Goals," Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, March 16, 1996.
  • "The 1992 Campaign: Democrats; Clinton Says Golfing at All-White Club Was Mistake," The New York Times, March 21, 1992.
  • "Remarks at the William H. Bowen Law School Dedication Ceremony in Little Rock," Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, May 1, 2000. FindArticles.com. 18 Mar. 2008. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2889/is_17_36/ai_63507887
  • "UALR Promotes From Within to Fill Dean's Post at Law School," Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, May 9, 2000.

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