The Shenandoah University community joins the Commonwealth of Virginia in mourning the passing of Senator Harry F. Byrd, Jr., a longtime friend and leader whose legacy helped shape the direction and philosophy of Shenandoah from its arrival in Winchester in 1960. Considered one of the founding families that helped bring the university to Winchester, the Byrd family was instrumental in laying the initial cornerstones for the first two buildings on campus, Armstrong Hall and Gregory Hall, in 1960.
Throughout his distinguished career in public service, Senator Byrd maintained his family’s friendship and commitment to Shenandoah. Upon his retirement from the U.S. Senate in 1983, he presented a lecture series on campus. In 1984, the business program was reorganized and, in his honor, named the Harry F. Byrd, Jr. School of Business. Senator Byrd served on Shenandoah’s board of trustees from 1963 to 1994, advising the leadership of the institution throughout its formative years. Upon his retirement in 1994, he became trustee emeritus. Senator Byrd was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws from Shenandoah in 1968. In 2000, he received the Institute for Government and Public Service award, and he served on the Business School Advisory Committee from 2000 to 2004.
Senator Byrd’s family tradition of fiscal conservatism, unquestioned integrity and distaste for political expediency, deeply infused the philosophy of Shenandoah University and its Harry F. Byrd, Jr. School of Business. While his influence on the political life of Virginia during the 20th century is long lasting, his legacy to students and graduates of the university and the business school that bears his name, remains even more profound.