Barbara Bowman

We are delighted to name our emerging leaders program after one of Erikson Institute’s founders, Barbara Taylor Bowman. In 1966, Barbara, along with two other prominent child advocates — child psychologist Maria Piers, and social worker Lorraine Wallach — established Erikson at the height of the Civil Rights Movement with the support of businessman and philanthropist Irving B. Harris. Each believed that a comprehensive understanding of child development was fundamental to the task of helping children reach their fullest potential.

They recognized a demand for well-trained professionals to work in a variety of early childhood settings serving a diverse population of young children, from newly launched Head Start programs in local schools to community centers and area hospitals. The need for this knowledge and training continues today, and the Barbara Bowman Leadership Fellows Program seeks to enhance the capacity of nonprofit and government leaders to inform their decision-making with an early childhood perspective.

Barbara’s legacy as an education activist, policy adviser, and early childhood practitioner matches the characteristics of the fellows this program aims to attract. Furthermore, her dedication to ensuring that diversity and equity are mutually reinforcing provides the framework that supports the entire program experience.