James Lanier Byrd III Endowed Scholarship Established at Southeast

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The James Lanier Byrd III Endowed Scholarship has been established through the Southeast Missouri University Foundation. This new scholarship can be awarded to multiple students a year, with a maximum of up to $25,000 in scholarships awarded or renewed each year.

The scholarship was established through a donation from the estate of James L. Byrd III. To be considered for the scholarship, students must:

  • Be a full-time student at Southeast who graduated from either Charleston High School or East Prairie High School in Mississippi County, Missouri
  • Be pursuing an undergraduate degree at either Southeast’s main campus, regional campus, delivery site or online degree program
  • Be a traditional entering freshman student at Southeast or a transfer student from a community college serving the southeast Missouri region

The scholarship may provide funds for tuition, fees or books as well as on-campus room and board. It is renewable for up to four years if the student continues to meet the criteria. Additionally, the scholarship may be used, at the recipient’s request, for up to 6 credit hours during the summer semester.

“We are grateful that the estate of James Lanier Byrd III chose to honor his legacy with a scholarship to Southeast students,” said Dr. Carlos Vargas, president of Southeast. “This new scholarship will have a very positive impact on our students from Mississippi County as they pursue their academic and career goals.”

James Lanier Byrd III was born on June 22, 1930 in Cairo, Illinois. He was the son of the late James Lanier Byrd Jr. and Lucile Frisby Byrd. He was a life-long resident of Charleston, Missouri until his death on October 9, 2020.

Byrd attended Charleston Public Schools through his second year of high school and completed his high school education at the Shattuck Military Academy in Faribault, Minnesota. Byrd attended Central Methodist University in Fayette, Missouri, where he was a member of the band and graduated with a degree in business administration.

Mr. Byrd was a landowner and the founder of South Missouri Broadcasting Company (KCHR) in 1954, which he owned and operated until his retirement. He served with the Missouri National Guard for 16 years and was a member of the United Methodist Church of Charleston.

Byrd loved trains (especially steam engines), Packard automobiles and radio broadcasting. He was an expert on each of these subjects. He was known for his generosity in donating pipe organs to the United Methodist Church of Charleston and the First Baptist Church of Charleston.

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