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Meet the Russ College’s new crop of faculty and staff members this year in this series of interviews, and stop by their offices to greet them in person.
Finance guru Luanne Bowman, the Russ College’s new chief financial and administrative officer, loves to crunch numbers. It’s a good thing she decided not to run off with the circus.
How did you make your way to these parts?
I am originally from Ironton, Ohio, so I didn’t have too far of a journey. I have been in higher education administration for almost 13 years and spent most of my career in the surrounding area, most recently at Mountwest Community and Technical College in Huntington, W.V. I wouldn’t trade the memorable experiences I have had with my colleagues and students for any other job that I can think of.
Where did you prepare for your profession, and what was special about it?
I started my undergraduate college career at Ohio University-Southern in Ironton. I was an undecided student with no real idea what I wanted to do, since my father said being a lion tamer for the circus was not an acceptable career. I landed, quite accidentally, in an economics course. I was fascinated from the first day of class, and it just clicked. Supply and demand made perfect sense to me. From that point forward, I was a business major. I transferred to Marshall University in Huntington, where I majored in accounting. I also earned an MBA from West Virginia University.
What would you say is your professional superpower?
I am a certified numbers nerd and proud of it. I am happiest when I have a spreadsheet or financial statement in front of me to analyze. I love making budgetary projections and seeing how close the projection was to reality. To me, it’s like completing the ultimate puzzle.
At the Russ College, we “create for good.” You'll be hearing this a lot because it's true. How will you “create for good” while you're at the Russ College?
The university has implemented some new and exciting financial and budgetary procedures for each of the colleges that will be transformational to the Russ College. In my administrative role, I hope to create for good by helping lead the Russ College in that transformation over the next few years.
How do you like Athens so far?
The thing I have learned about Athens is that it is not an environment conducive to high-heeled shoes when you have to walk very far across campus. I now chose my footwear for the day based on where my meeting schedule will take me.
What do you do when you're not creating for good?
I have 10-year-old identical twin boys, Caleb and Elijah, so there is not a lot of quiet time in my house. I spend a lot of my time at sporting and other school events.
Any advice to students this semester?
Sometimes when students are having a rough time in a class, they feel like they are the only one who has ever struggled. Almost every faculty member, administrator or other staff member also struggled in at least one course or more when they were in college. Most have even failed a test or two -- I got a 23 out of 100 on an accounting exam once. Perseverance is the name of the game in getting a college degree. Get back up, dust yourself off, and don’t ever give up.