One of the Longest Serving Bridgewater College Employees

Nurse in 46th Year of Employment at College

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One of the Longest Serving Bridgewater College Employees

2019 marks Linda Bowers’s 46 years at Bridgewater College.

2019 marks Linda Bowers’s 46 years at Bridgewater College.

Photo by Jackelina Letaiugyang

2019 marks Linda Bowers’s 46 years at Bridgewater College.

Photo by Jackelina Letaiugyang

Photo by Jackelina Letaiugyang

2019 marks Linda Bowers’s 46 years at Bridgewater College.

Jackie Letaiugyang, Staff Writer

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Bridgewater, Va.- Linda Bowers began working as a nurse at Bridgewater College in 1973. This year, 2019, marks her 46th year at Bridgewater College. At a staff appreciation event, Bowers listened to President Bushman talk about how many years Bridgewater College has been open, and she remembered thinking “Oh my, I have been here a third of the time Bridgewater College has been a college.” 

Bowers spent her early childhood traveling as her father was in the Navy. She spent four years, from the ages of one to five, in Italy as her father was working at the United States Embassy. Bowers does not have many memories of the time she spent in Italy with her family. Although, in 1995 on a mission trip to Montevideo, Uruguay, as she was standing on a balcony enjoying the view, she recalled some memories from her childhood in Italy, yet still so little of it. 

After being overseas, Bowers and her family returned to the states. The family moved back to their home in Charlottesville, Virginia where she went to both middle school and high school. In her senior year of high school, she met her husband, Bobby Bowers.  

Bowers applied to Bridgewater College in her senior year of high school and was accepted. Because her husband-to-be was facing the draft, Bowers said that she knew she was not going to be able to complete four years of college. Bowers knew then that going to Bridgewater College was not going to work for her, so she started looking for a new possibility.

In a newspaper ad, Bowers found the answer to her prayers. The University of Virginia was offering a Licensed Practical Nurse program for only twenty months and they would even pay the students to go to school. Bowers applied and weeks later, she was one of the only twelve accepted applicants to the University of Virginia. 

After completing her education, Bowers married Bobby Bowers. Her husband then went into the Navy and Bowers followed him. When he finished serving in the military, Bowers talked him into going back to college. He agreed and enrolled at Bridgewater College. “Back then,”  Bowers said, “they used to accept couples as dorm directors so they decided to apply for the position.” 

In 1973, Bowers and her husband sat in Yount Hall for an interview with the Dean. Today Yount Hall is the Admissions Office, but back then it was a residence hall. 

After talking with her husband, the Dean then turned to Bowers and asked her what she did. Bowers explained to him that she is a nurse, but was caring for their two-year-old son. The dean expressed how the college desperately needed a new nurse and asked Bowers if she would be willing to accept the nursing position. 

Bowers took the offer and began her journey at Bridgewater College. 

After her husband graduated college, Bowers remained at BC as the nurse. Her family now lives in Mount Crawford, a town about seven miles away from campus. 

For as long as she could remember, Bowers has always wanted to be a nurse. 

“I can’t remember wanting to be anything else,” Bowers said. “I think I was just drawn to the idea of helping people and nursing seemed to me, as a little girl, to be the best place for me to do that,” she continued. 

Initially, her dream as a little girl, was to be a missionary nurse. “That didn’t work out as my ‘mission field’ turned out to be at Bridgewater College,” she concluded.

Bowers also loves to do mission work. In 1994, she went on a mission trip to Mexico. A year later, she went to Montevidio, Uruguay. Later to Kenya, Africa on a medical mission trip. 

In 2001, she connected with a ministry called Betel UK. This ministry works with heroin addicts and alcoholics off the street in the United Kingdom. She has been going there to help since 2001 and has only missed one year. 

In March 2019, Bowers took a recent mission trip to India. “Part of being able to do mission work is because I work part time and because Bridgewater College has allowed me to be able to do that.” Bowers said. 

“The 50s,” she said, “was a time when lots of missionaries were going out into the world and their stories were everywhere, at least in my church. I wanted my faith to be real and to be bigger than the walls of our church, and so my dream back then was to go to other nations to help bring healing but also to share God’s love for people.” Bowers continued, “Then, ‘real life’ happened and I became a nurse, got married and began raising our family. Mission [work] became a distant memory of what was a dream.” 

Working at Bridgewater College was not one of the dreams Bowers had as a little girl. However, she has loved and enjoyed every bit of her time here.