Education administrator and physicist Calvin Lowe was born in Roanoke Rapids, Michigan in 1955. After graduating from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University with his B.S. degree in physics, Lowe enrolled at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he earned his M.S. degree in plasma physics in 1979. Upon completing his doctoral thesis, “Optical Properties of Graphite Intercalation Compounds,” Lowe graduated from MIT with his Ph.D. degree in solid state physics in 1983.
Upon graduation, Lowe began teaching as an associate professor of physics at the University of Kentucky. In 1987, Lowe was appointed as an associate professor of physics at Hampton University and was named chair of the department of physics. He left Hampton University in 1992 and moved to Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical State University in Huntsville, Alabama where he served as chair of the department of physics from 1992 to 1995. In 1996, Lowe returned to Hampton University and he served as the vice president of research and dean of the graduate college. In that position, he was instrumental in building an internationally recognized atmospheric-sciences research group. Lowe was named the ninth president of Bowie State University in Bowie, Maryland and served from 2000 to 2006. While at Bowie, Lowe was as a member of the Task Force to Study College Readiness for Disadvantaged and Capable Students. Lowe has also served as the vice president of research and program development at the National Institute for Aerospace. In 2011, Lowe was appointed as the dean of the School of Science at Hampton University.
In addition to serving as faculty and administrator, Lowe served as a member of the board of Directors for the University System of Maryland from 2000 to 2006. He is a member of the American Physical Society, the National Society of Black Physicists and the Association of University Technology Managers. In 2011, Lowe received the Outstanding Achievement Award from the National Aeronautic and Space Administration’s Marshall Space Flight Center.
Lowe lives in Maryland with his wife, Tanya, and their two adult children, Maya and Calvin. His brother, Dr. Walter Lowe, is a professor of physics at Howard University.
Calvin Lowe was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 25, 2013.