For the past 50 years, Greenwood resident Steve Byrd has enjoyed much success in life, thanks, he says, to an education from Lander University.
And now, the Class of '57 alum is hoping he can help other Lander students do the same by establishing an endowed scholarship with the help of his wife.
The Steve and Carol Byrd Scholarship will be awarded based on financial need to a student from Greenwood County or the surrounding seven-county area.
"We wanted to celebrate my 50th graduation anniversary because Lander has meant a lot to us," Steve Byrd said. "Lander opened a lot of doors for me, and maybe, with this scholarship, some other kid will get that same spark."
At Lander, Steve Byrd served as student body president his senior year, and he paid his way through school with various campus jobs, including one in the bookstore. He said being able to find student employment opportunities on campus was one of the main reasons he could afford his education.
"There is no way I could have gone to college without Lander. I was just a poor, country boy, but I was fortunate enough to be given enough work to make it through," Steve Byrd said. He added with a chuckle, "One year, they actually owed me money."
Since his graduation, Steve Byrd has been active in private business and community banking, as well as in government. He served as president and board member for the Lander Alumni Association for several years. He also served on The Lander Foundation Board of Trustees and acted as chairman for the foundation's Alumni Relations Committee. He and Carol Byrd have been married for 16 years, and the couple, who are close friends with Lander Athletic Director Emeritus Finis Horne, have spent numerous hours volunteering and working with the university's athletics program.
"The Byrds have always been strong supporters of Lander. They have worked tirelessly to help the athletics and alumni programs," said Eleanor Teal, vice president for University Advancement and executive director of The Lander Foundation. "We are very excited and appreciative that they have decided to give back to Lander in this special way."
Even though she didn't attend Lander, Carol Byrd said being able to help the university and its students is an honor.
"Lander means a lot to me," she said. "Going to college and getting an education is so important, and being able to help someone with that chance is a wonderful opportunity for us."