Bowden, Boling Named Bumpers College Outstanding Alumni

Retired U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. William Bowden and Kerri Boling
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Retired U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. William Bowden and Kerri Boling

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Retired Maj. Gen. William Bowden and Kerri Boling have been named 2015-16 distinguished alumni of the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences at the University of Arkansas.

Bowden is being honored as the Outstanding Alumnus and will present the commencement address to Bumpers College graduates on May 14 in Barnhill Arena. Boling is being recognized by the Bumpers College Alumni Society as the Outstanding Young Alumna and will also address graduates at commencement.

Bowden retired as a Major General from the U.S. Air Force following 35 years of service. He led operations from 12 Air Force bases, including the Pentagon, and during the Vietnam War served as a navigator and bombardier on B-52 bombers flying from U-Tapao Royal Thailand Navy Base. A shortstop on the Razorback baseball team, he graduated from the U of A in 1954.

Boling has been a litigation and regulatory attorney for Tyson Foods Inc. since 2012, focusing on food and agricultural related matters. She graduated from the Bumpers College in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in agricultural business.

"The Bumpers College is proud to announce Bill and Kerri as our distinguished alumni for 2016," said Dean Mike Vayda. "Bill has obviously been a leader and protector in serving our country around the world. We are thankful for his service and proud of his accomplishments. He has also supported higher education and been extremely active in community service. We are excited to have a former Razorback speak to and inspire our newest graduates.

"Kerri has quickly established herself, using her agricultural background and education to shape her law career," said Vayda. "She was active and involved as a student, participated in international programs and took advantage of opportunities to gain valuable experience. Kerri was one of our college ambassadors while a student and she's a wonderful ambassador for us now."


Bowden completed 44 combat missions and flew more than 4,500 hours. He was assigned to the Pentagon following the Vietnam War and retired as commander of the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex at Tinker Air Force Base in 1989. Following retirement, he served 14 years for the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, including seven as a Rose State College Regent. He formally retired in 2008.

While in the service, Bowden earned his master's in business administration through the George Washington University cooperative education program in 1965 at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama, completed Air War College and earned his master's in political science from Auburn University's Maxwell Air Force Base campus.

From Swifton, Arkansas, Bowden has served on the boards of the Arkansas Alumni Association, the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, the Oklahoma State Fair, United Way, Last Frontier Council of the Boy Scouts of America, Kirkpatrick Center museum complex and the YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City.

The Arkansas Alumni Association awarded Bowden the Heart Award in 2001, the Andrew J. Lucas Alumni Service Award in 2003 and the Community Service Award in 2012. He was inducted into the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame in 2005 and received the National Association for Uniformed Services Distinguished Warrior Award in 2012. He has also received the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Air Force Commendation Medal and the Air Force Association's Thomas P. Gerrity Award for Logistics Management.


After graduating in 2007, Boling earned her Juris Doctor degree and Master's of Law Degree in agricultural and food law from the U of A in 2010 and 2014, respectively. She is currently completing her Master's of Law Degree in global food law from Michigan State University. Before joining Tyson, Boling was a litigation attorney on the food, agriculture and biofuels practice group for the international law firm Faegre Baker Daniels in Des Moines, Iowa, where she counseled companies in the food and agriculture industries on litigated and regulatory matters.

While in law school, Boling held several law clerk positions, including with the United States Department of Agriculture Office of the General Counsel and the Arkansas Supreme Court, and she worked as a graduate assistant with the National Agricultural Law Center.

As a Bumpers College undergraduate, Boling received the Spitze Public Policy Legislative Internship Award, working with U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln in Washington, D.C., interned with Arkansas Farm Bureau and participated in several international programs, including in Edinburgh, Scotland, and a service learning project in Dangriga, Belize.

A native of Gravette, Arkansas, Boling grew up on her family's beef cattle and contract poultry farm.

About the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences: Bumpers College provides life-changing opportunities to position and prepare graduates who will be leaders in the businesses associated with foods, family, the environment, agriculture, sustainability and human quality of life; and who will be first-choice candidates of employers looking for leaders, innovators, policy makers and entrepreneurs. The college is named for Dale Bumpers, former Arkansas governor and longtime U.S. senator who made the state prominent in national and international agriculture.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.


Robby Edwards, director of communications
Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences


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