Those who attended last week's Southeast Missouri Symphony Orchestra were treated to a wonderful concert. Before the orchestra began, Dr. Ken Dobbins, Southeast president, recognized a key supporter of the university: Thomas Swayne Byrd.
Byrd, of Charleston, Mo., is the founder and CEO of Thomas Swayne Byrd Architects and president of Swayne-Hunter Farms Inc. in Sikeston, Mo. According to Dobbins, Byrd was instrumental in the start of the River Campus. Early work included serving as an architectural consultant for the facility's design. Numerous hours were spent meeting with students, faculty and staff, as well as examining the property and buildings.
His support for the arts has been financial and personal, he made a recent six-figure commitment for the Symphony Scholarship Program, and he served on the River Campus Board of Managers.
For his efforts, Dobbins said the University Symphony Orchestra conductor position is now named after him. A picture in Sunday's Good Times section showed Byrd as he prepared to hand the baton to Dr. Sara Edgerton, artistic director of the symphony orchestra.
Congratulations to Byrd on this distinct honor. We appreciate his longtime support and contribution to an outstanding facility in Cape Girardeau.