By Maia McArthur
Colonel William B. Lowe is an assistant professor of mathematics and serves as the Faculty Athletic Representative at Southern Virginia University. Originally from Auburn, Alabama, Colonel Lowe attended the United States Air Force Academy where he graduated from in 1967 with a degree in Mathematics, following which he received a master’s degree in mathematics from North Carolina State. Colonel Lowe spent 28 years in the air force as a pilot. He happily claims that he currently has a Lexington address and a Buena Vista phone number.
Tell us about your family:
My wife Nancy and I will have been married for 50 years this summer. We have four girls—two of which are twins and seven grandchildren – they are all boys except for one princess.
Why did you decide to come Southern Virginia University?
My last assignment in the Air Force was head of the Virginia Military Institute Air Force ROTC in Lexington. A fellow named John Ripley was head of the Navy department there at the time, and when he retired he became the president of what is now Southern Virginia University. When I retired, I asked him if I could come teach math over here and he hired me to head the math department.
How long have you worked here?
I started teaching in the spring of 1995.
Describe your role at Southern Virginia University:
Besides being a math teacher, I’m the Faculty Athletic Representative on campus. As such, I serve as bridge between the faculty and athletics department. There is a saying that the athletics department thinks I support the faculty and the faculty think I’m supporting athletics – if that’s true than I’m doing it about right.
My real goal is to be another conduit for the athletes, I try to be someone that the students can go to in addition to their advisor or coach.
What do you enjoy most about being a part of Southern Virginia University Athletics?
I enjoy the interaction with the students as athletes as well as in the classroom. I also like to go to the games and practices and support the teams.
Did you ever participate/compete in athletics? If so, what and for how long?
As a kid I played football, baseball, and enjoyed swimming. I played intramural sports in college—football and then water polo - but I decided that was too much like drowning.
Who is your favorite sports team?
Auburn University. I started selling programs to the games when I was eight years old. We can add the Air Force Academy, VMI and SVU to that list as well.
What do you enjoy doing in your free-time?
Gardening, I like to mow grass, I like to be outside and I used to like to camp a lot.
Name three people, real or fictional, living or dead, that you'd like to have dinner with?
Any president of the United states, General Paul Tibbets – the first man to break the sound barrier and famous aviator – and Robert E. Lee.
Do you have a mantra or life motto—what is it?
I’m big on honesty and integrity, I believe a man is his word. I have saying that was in my house when I was growing up it said, “the measure of a man’s real character is what he would do if he was never found out.”
If you could give one piece of advice to the students here, what would it be?
Work hard, study hard and play hard.
What has been one of your most memorable experiences during your time here?
When my wife and I went on the Italy travel study with Barbara Crawford two years ago. Another experience that took my breath away is when I went to the Impossible Dream musical and heard Doctor Eric Hansen sing, “Bring Him Home,” from Les Miserables. I love that story and it brought tears to my eyes.