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College of Education > News and Publications > News: Jan. - March 2011 > College of Education Alumnus, Wife to Leave Lasting Legacy

College of Education Alumnus, Wife to Leave Lasting Legacy

Robert E. and Barbara Bennett Byrd have pledged $182,000 to the College of Education's General Fund.

by David Price (January 2011)

University Park, Pa. -- A Penn State alumnus and his wife have pledged a lasting legacy to the College of Education. Robert E. and Barbara Bennett Byrd of Burlington, North Carolina, have made arrangements in their estate for gifts of at least $182,000 to the College of Education General Fund.

Robert and Barbara Byrd"I am very grateful for Bob and Barbara Byrd's foresight in providing us with the resources and flexibility we need to meet needs that the College will face for years to come," says David H. Monk, dean of the College of Education. "Many times funds like this can make or break the realization of a college's vision for its future. I truly appreciate their support.”

Bob Byrd, originally from Erie, Pennsylvania, graduated from Penn State in 1970 with a degree in music education: “We don't consider ourselves wealthy people, but I thought that Penn State made a tremendous impact on my life, and I felt that I needed to give some of that back.”

Since earning his master of health administration at Duke in 1978, Byrd has served on the senior management team of Alamance Regional Medical Center in Burlington, North Carolina, where he is currently senior vice president.

“My thinking in supporting Penn State was that I wanted to support the areas that touched me while I was there,” says Byrd. “Penn State represents excellence in everything that I see it does. It makes a tremendous impact on our society, and coupling with that is the tremendous importance of education in our society.”

Byrd and his wife, whom he met in North Carolina, share a love of music. Barbara Byrd is an accomplished classical pianist and organist. At Penn State, Bob was in the Concert Blue Band and other ensembles, including the Penn Statesmen jazz ensemble and the Symphonic Wind Ensemble. He keeps his musical fire burning as the co-founder and musical director of the 18-piece Alamance Jazz Band. He and Barbara—a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro—just celebrated their 26th anniversary. “We go to University Park frequently, and she’s got the Penn State spirit, too! I'm just tremendously proud to be a Penn Stater.”