Military Medicine program receives first endowed scholarship
The Military Medicine program at the Texas A&M University College of Medicine received its first scholarship endowment from Richard Byrd, MD ’81, a member of the College of Medicine’s inaugural class, and his wife Katherine.
Named in honor of Byrd’s late brother, the Joseph A. Byrd Memorial Endowed Scholarship will support students who are pursuing a medical degree and involved in the Military Medicine program.
“With the College of Medicine’s emphasis on military medicine, I thought this would be the perfect way to give back to students interested in pursuing a career in military medicine, as well as a way to honor my brother’s legacy,” Byrd said.
Byrd’s oldest brother, Joseph, was commissioned in the United States Army upon graduating from Texas A&M University in 1970 with a degree in history. Joseph served in the Vietnam War for a little over a year and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart in honor of his heroic service, dedication and commitment. Joseph passed away at the age of 62 from complications due to exposure to Agent Orange, a tactical herbicide used by the U.S. military during the Vietnam War.
“He was a devoted husband to his wife Linda, and a great dad to his four children, Joe, Matt, Tim, and Liz,” Byrd said. “I’ve always looked up to him and admired him as a person. When he came home from Vietnam, we were so glad to have him back safely from the war. I thought naming this scholarship after him would be a good way to keep his memory alive and honor him. His children and 10 grandchildren will also appreciate seeing their dad and grandfather honored in this way.”
Byrd, who currently practices general pediatrics in Sugar Land, Texas, is an adjunct clinical faculty member at the College of Medicine’s Houston campus. He is also a member of the College of Medicine’s Alumni Association and Rapport Society.
Eligible recipients of this scholarship will be current College of Medicine students who are honorably discharged military service veterans and/or committed to military service upon finishing their medical degree, or members in good standing of the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets who have been accepted into the College of Medicine’s Cadet to Medicine Early Assurance program.
“The College of Medicine is so grateful to have received this endowed scholarship honoring the legacy of a heroic Aggie veteran,” said Amy Waer, MD, FACS, dean of the College of Medicine. “This scholarship will help students in our Military Medicine program and bring them new opportunities that will guide them to successful careers in military medicine.”
A committee of faculty and/or staff at the College of Medicine will select the recipients of this scholarship yearly based on academic achievement and extracurricular activities.
As the first endowment to the College of Medicine’s new Department of Military Medicine, the scholarship will help aid the college’s mission in recruiting more students to care for the military, veterans and their families, as well as becoming the premier leader in military medicine research and education.
“As a former student, I’ve always liked the idea of trying to give back to the place where I learned so much and that gave me so many opportunities,” Byrd said. “Medical education is expensive, so being able to help future Aggie doctors while honoring my brother’s legacy is a blessing for the entire Byrd family.”