Rowan Engineering dean envisions a growing program that will impact education, research and the economy
Though his office looks out over a pond and wooded area and is decorated with family photographs and an outsized check of a company he co-founded and sold, Dr. Anthony Lowman really doesn’t have much time to appreciate his surroundings.
Seven months into his tenure as the third dean of the Rowan University College of Engineering in Glassboro, N.J., Lowman is a whirlwind of energy, meeting faculty and students, alumni, legislators and entrepreneurs, assessing the programs, hiring the faculty and building the relationships that will propel the nationally recognized College into the future.
“I knew when I accepted this position that I was joining an outstanding College. I was confident we were going to make changes in the future to be even better. I am amazed by how fast they have come, and I am gratified by the support so many people give our College of Engineering,” Lowman said.
Indeed, before he moved from Temple University to Rowan, the long-time educator and internationally recognized researcher knew Rowan would officially have state comprehensive research university status as of this July 1, thanks to the New Jersey Medical and Health Sciences Education Restructuring Act that Gov. Chris Christie signed into effect last summer.
Research status enables Rowan to create more master’s and doctoral programs, which the dean said translates into more opportunities for undergraduate students to conduct cutting-edge research. For the College of Engineering it also means more collaborations and the possibility of greater funding for its hallmark engineering clinics, in which students work with professors on real-world projects for industry, government and non-profit organizations.
Lowman believes that status will help bring to life his vision for the College, including expanding research conducted by faculty and students, developing and bringing to market products that address societal needs and supporting — and helping to trigger — businesses in the region.
The Building Our Future Bond Act, a referendum approved by New Jersey voters last fall, also fuels his vision. This spring, the State awarded Rowan University $117 million from the Bond Act and other State funds that will enable Rowan, among other initiatives, to construct a new building for the College of Engineering and double its enrollment to about 2,000 students. The building will be adjacent to Rowan Hall, the present home of the College, just off Bowe Boulevard on the edge of the University’s suburban campus.
“This is critical not just for the University and its students but also for South Jersey,” said Lowman. “Applicants for our programs are the cream of the crop. Unfortunately, because of space limitations, we find we are regularly turning away students with SAT scores in the 1300s. Often they wind up attending other schools in the region. It’s important we keep them in New Jersey and offer them an affordable, high-quality education. These students are our future engineers and entrepreneurs and inventors. These students will become the engineers who develop the products that address our needs in technology and the environment and health care. They will be the business leaders who invigorate our economy.”
Lowman, with almost 20 years in engineering, academia and research, well knows about that type of engineer. He is one.
The East Greenwich Township father of three has long researched controlled drug delivery, biomaterials and polymer science and engineering. By the time he was in his early 30s, Lowman was internationally recognized for his research on hydrogels. In 2003, MIT Technology Review Magazine named him one of the Top 100 Innovators Worldwide Under the Age of 35 for contributions in oral drug delivery.
Educated at the University of Virginia (B.S. in chemical engineering) and Purdue University (Ph.D. in chemical engineering), the native of Virginia Beach worked for the Virginia Power, North Anna Nuclear Power Station, Virginia; the University of Parma, Italy; Hoshi University, Japan; and Drexel University, where in addition to serving as a professor he also was associate dean for undergraduate studies in the College of Engineering, interim senior associate vice provost for research, and associate dean for research and graduate studies.
Lowman was chief technical officer and co-founder of start-up company Geliflex Inc., a firm co-founded by AML that in 2003 emerged as the result of hydrogel technology research conducted in his laboratory at Drexel. Synthes, Inc., a global medical device manufacturer, acquired the firm, which kick-started Drexel’s technology commercialization and entrepreneurship initiatives and was at the time was the largest licensing agreement at the university. Lowman worked closely on those initiatives at Drexel with Dr. Kenneth Blank, Rowan’s new vice president for Health Sciences and a well-respected molecular pathologist and cancer researcher with more than 30 years of experience in research program development, technology commercialization and regional economic development.
Immediately prior to coming to Rowan, Lowman served as vice provost for research and business development and professor of bioengineering at Temple University.
Strong track record
Lowman’s track record includes helping establish major regional initiatives and serving key roles with a number of economic development and higher education agencies, including the University City Science Center, Scientific Advisory Board; Delaware Valley Regional Water Alliance; Advisory Committee of the Greater Philadelphia STEM Center; and Power Valley Advisory Board. He also served as a member of the Energy Commercialization Institute and Nanotechnology Institute Operations Committees.
He is a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the Society for Biomaterials and the American Society for Engineering Education, among other organizations. A prolific international speaker and presenter, Lowman has published more than 75 papers in refereed journals, shares three patents and has attracted more than $12 million for his research.
His honors also include Drexel outstanding research, service and teaching awards and a Purdue University award for outstanding doctoral research. The International Society for Artificial Organs gave him the Whitaker Foundation Best Paper Award, and Nagai Foundation Tokyo presented him with an International Research Fellowship. He is a fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biomedical Engineering.