Faculty Stories: Tony Bowers

Tony Bowers

Program: English


Tony Bowers has been in love with words and storytelling his entire life.

“I would make up stories before I could even read,” he said. “I would look at my picture books as a kid and make up my own tales. This led me to a life as a writer. A world of letters seemed natural. Thus, English and the craft of composing was a great career choice.”

Having earned two bachelor’s degrees and a Master of Fine Arts from Columbia College-Chicago, Bowers was a middle school English Language Arts teacher and then an English Composition teacher for three years at City Colleges Chicago before coming to College of DuPage. He loves seeing students hit their potential.

“In fact, that is one of the saddest things to me—wasted potential,” he said. “I am blessed to play a small part in helping students meet their own personal potentials. As their instructor, I take that seriously. I want them to know that they can do anything they set their minds to, and that they are worthy of success.”

I am blessed to play a small part in helping students meet their own personal potentials.

Tony Bowers

Bowers is also a published author. In his anthology “On the Nine,” he paints a vibrant portrait of the Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood in Chicago with broad strokes of the good, the bad, the broken and the transformed. Bringing a vitality to Chicago history with a historic perspective that can’t be found in textbooks or academic journals, he amplifies American history.

“Storytelling preserves cultures and makes a community,” he said. “When you read the works of (Mark) Twain, (Paul Laurence) Dubar and (Phillis) Wheatley, you begin to understand their world and get a sense of who they are. Academic history books can provide dates, places and specific data, but storytelling can give history life.”

In transporting readers, Bowers believes that storytelling helps them understand culture and society that is different from their own backgrounds. His themes are as familiar as the welcome aromas wafting from his grandmother’s kitchen, drawing from youthful dreams, events lived with childhood friends and family lore.

If history is the study of past events, particularly human affairs, then storytelling is the first chapter of that study, Bowers said.

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“Storytelling illustrates what we know, where we came from, and how we became who we are,” he said. “It gives readers insight and understanding into a different life, helping them develop empathy or sympathy. That is why we are in a community, why we live in neighborhoods. It is because we need to connect, and storytelling is a way of connecting people to something different from their own experiences.” 

Bowers finds inspiration in anyone who seeks a higher path.

“Those people who want to make the world better with their love and service really warm my heart,” he said.

Learn more about the English program at College of DuPage