Liberal Arts student marshal finds academic success following baseball career

When William Dexter Fowler got drafted to Major League Baseball 20 years ago, he accepted his contract on one condition — he would return to school and complete his education.

William Dexter Fowler Courtesy photo

Fowler is not your typical Penn State student. The organizational and professional communication major was initially accepted to the University of Miami before being drafted by the Colorado Rockies in 2004. He had a successful baseball career, including winning bronze in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China, and winning a World Series with the Chicago Cubs in 2016.

Despite his accomplished baseball career, Fowler committed to completing his college degree upon his retirement. With education being incredibly valued in his family, he said, he was eager to take this next step.

“My parents always wanted me to go to school, so I promised them I would return,” Fowler said. “My dad negotiated into my contract that I would get four years of school paid for. I’m a man of my word, so I returned to get my degree.”

Fowler’s academic career led him to Penn State World Campus, where he enrolled in the Bachelor of Science in Organizational and Professional Communication. He expressed his gratitude for his program in the College of the Liberal Arts and explained why he initially selected the University.

“Being able to complete my education remotely was huge for me,” Fowler said. “I own two companies and am always doing a lot of things, so it was a big kicker to be able to do everything online.”

Since retiring from professional baseball, Fowler has built a career as a successful sports broadcaster. He is a regular host on Marquee Sports Network and makes frequent appearances on ESPN, MSNBC Sports, and FOX Sports. Most recently, he started his own production company called Fowlball Productions and 400 Ventures, bridging the communication gap between entertainers, athletes, and the broader audience through the use of different media platforms.

“Once I retired, I wanted to own my own content,” Fowler said. “With the help of my partner, we started this production company, as well as a management company. We currently manage a few athletes and entertainers.”

Fowler credits his post-retirement successes to his Penn State education. He was able to utilize his prior knowledge to build his professional skills and succeed in his career.

“I chose my major because I wanted to leverage communications skills to help people in the workplace and in my production company,” Fowler said. “Learning a lot of these skills beforehand definitely helped. I got a lot of informal communications skills through baseball. I really think that going through life and then returning to college made it way more enjoyable.”

Fowler will graduate this spring with a bachelor of science degree in organizational and professional communication and will represent his major as its student marshal at the College of the Liberal Arts’ commencement ceremony, which will take place at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 4, in the Bryce Jordan Center. Having returned to college after a long and successful career, Fowler said being selected as a student marshal was a “huge honor.”

“I really wanted to surprise people,” Fowler said. “I didn’t tell many people that I was returning to school because I wanted to do this for myself. My parents live in Atlanta and recently retired, so I surprised them by inviting them up for graduation in May.”

Learn more about the Bachelor of Science in Organizational and Professional Communication offered in partnership with the Penn State College of the Liberal Arts online through Penn State World Campus.