UCR Professor Emeritus of Biology
(1924 - 2019)
Born and raised in New York City, Dr. Bovell served on the Italian front in World War II as a medic. He later received his bachelor's degree at Brooklyn College in 1949 and his master's degree there in 1952. He then moved to California to continue graduate studies at UC Davis, where he received a Ph.D. in biology in 1957 and was a fellow at Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Station in Pacific Grove.
In 1957, Dr. Bovell began his career in the Department of Biology at UC Riverside. He quickly earned a reputation as one of the campus' most dynamic teachers. He earned distinction in his research field of bacteriology, contributing numerous acclaimed scholarly papers. He specialized in biochemical and biophysical studies of the properties of cell membranes and metabolism in unicellular organisms. His work included studies of how microbes obtained metabolizable organic substances from the external environment and how external substances influenced the cell membranes and metabolism of microbes. He was a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Dr. Bovell's roles as a UCR administrator included Vice Chair and acting Chair of the Biology Department and two terms as the Chair of the UCR Division of the Academic Senate. In 1978, he was appointed as Assistant Vice President – Academic Planning and Program Review in the UC systemwide administration, then located in Berkeley. Dr. Bovell returned to UCR in 1980 to take up the position of Vice Chancellor. He was responsible for oversight of the academic affairs of the campus, the campus budget, graduate division research and grants, University Extension, summer session, relations with schools, admissions, affirmative action, collective bargaining, and the Education Abroad Program.
In 1983, Dr. Bovell returned to the Department of Biology at UCR to resume his responsibilities in teaching and research. He served as the Chair of the UC systemwide Academic Senate, 1990-91. In 1998 he was awarded the prestigious Oliver Johnson Award for Distinguished Leadership in the UC Academic Senate.
Dr. Bovell was the first tenured African American professor at UCR and among the first in the UC system. He was a champion of increasing diversity and representation of racial and ethnic minorities at UCR. He was Chair of the Black Studies Program and was instrumental in the establishment of the first Chair for American Indian studies in the UC system at UC Riverside in 1986, the third such program in the country at that time.
Carlton Bovell is survived by his wife, Anna, whom he married in 1967.