Valerie M. and James R. Byrd ’57 have committed $100,000 to establish the Valerie Ryan Byrd Endowed Scholarship for qualified undergraduate students at Mays Business School. Scholarship funds are intended for business students who are members of the Corps of Cadets and current recipients of a Regents’ Scholarship. Preference is also given to graduates of high schools in Farmersville, Daingerfield and Newton, Texas, and Moreno Valley, New Mexico.

“The Byrd’s most generous gift will help provide an outstanding educational opportunity to our students,” said Dean Jerry Strawser. “Because they are assisting students who qualify for a Regents’ Scholarship, their gift will reach out to students who are the first in their family to attend college. This makes an already generous gift even more impactful.”

Jim Byrd graduated from Texas A&M in 1957 with a degree in accounting. After an assignment as a State Department Foreign Service Officer in Kabul, Afghanistan, from 1959 to 1962, he earned his MBA at the University of Texas in 1963. A 25-year Exxon Corp. career followed with assignments in Libya, New York City, England and Norway. Jim met Valerie in Libya, and told her there was only one place she needed to see in the U.S.A. — College Station!

After experiencing Midnight Yell Practice and seeing the Cadet Corps, Valerie is a “loyal Aggie by marriage.” The Byrds now split their time between Kingwood, Texas (where his son also lives) and Angel Fire, New Mexico, where both are certified ski instructors.

“The Texas A&M Corps of Cadets and business school made a major lifetime impact on me,” says Jim Byrd. “That is why I have made financial contributions to Texas A&M University every year since graduation. Valerie and I, along with ExxonMobil’s matching funds, are happy to establish this scholarship, and look forward to endowing additional scholarships in the future.”