Today I was moved by a greater fullness of his life than I had been aware, thanks to an obituary provided by his loving family.
For example, I knew of only one of Milton's educational positions and accomplishments before his move to Alaska.
Yet, in my defense, how would I know of every accomplishment of a truly private and serious man who seemed always engaged, not with the past, but on the next project in Alaska's future.
I also learned that while my father, Col. Dave Harbour, had been an Air Force fighter pilot in New Guinea during WWII, it turns out Milton was there with the U.S. Army...for the same, dangerous years.
I wish we had spent more time comparing notes. But I am also thankful for the time we did have working in parallel on many projects mentioned in the narrative below.
I'll miss you, Dear Friend, as many do, and we all join in thanksgiving for having known you. -dh
Dr. Milton Byrd
Physically spent but mentally alert, Milton Byrd, 92, accepted his fate with the words, "It's time to complete the cycle." Within a few hours, on March 6, 2014, he died peacefully in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Milt was born January 29, 1922 in Boston, Massachusetts. He was a graduate of Boston Latin School, a traditional classical high school, and received both his A.B. Cum Laude in 1948 and his M.A in 1949 from Boston University. He then left Boston to study at the University of Wisconsin, where he received his Ph.D in American Studies in 1953. In 1961 he was awarded a Carnegie Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship for the study of University Administration at the University of Michigan. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and an honorary member of Phi Delta Kappa.
He married Susanne J. Schwerin of Sheboygan, Wisconsin on August 30, 1953.
Between 1942 and 1946 he served in the United States Army Air Corps as a meteorologist in the Philippines and New Guinea.
Milt began his academic career at Indiana University in 1953 as a faculty member in the humanities. From 1958-1962 he was on the faculty at Southern Illinois University, Alton, where he became Associate Dean of Instruction and helped oversee and direct the construction of a new library. He was Vice President for Academic Affairs at Northern Michigan University from 1962-1966. As President of Chicago State University from 1966-1974, he oversaw the creation of a new $65 million campus. He met with and managed large crowds during highly sensitive political environments and campus strikes. Ultimately he converted a neglected and despondent municipal college into a thriving urban university. He was Provost of Florida International University from 1974-1978. There he planned and implemented a second major campus. He served as President of Adams State College, in Alamosa, Colorado from 1978-1980, before joining the American Association of State Colleges and Universities in Washington, D.C. as Senior Consultant. He also served as a member of their Board of Directors. He liked to boast that he never sought tenure.
In 1981 Milt and Sue moved to Anchorage, Alaska. Milt left the academic world to become Vice President for Corporate Development at Frontier Companies of Alaska, a company that provided transportation, civil construction and oil field services for the large oil companies on the North Slope.
With the development of the word processor and limited training opportunities for its use, and with academia still in his blood, Byrd resigned from Frontier in 1985 to found Charter College. He opened the college with seven students and a faculty and staff of eight in September 1985. When he retired as its president in 2005, Charter College had become a fully accredited four-year college with a faculty and staff of over 70 and a student body of over 700. He was President Emeritus until his death.
Dr. Byrd, as many addressed him, served on numerous boards and civic organizations. Four successive governors - Tony Knowles, Frank Murkowski, Sarah Palin and Sean Parnell appointed him to the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education. He served on the Commission from April 1994 to October 2013, the longest tenure served in Commission history. He sat on a number of Committees and served as Vice Chair of the Commission.
He was active in many organizations in various capacities. In Alaska he served on the boards of the Alaska World Affairs Council and the Support Industry Alliance and was a past President of each. He also served on the board of Commonwealth North. He was formerly Vice President of Common Sense for Alaska, Inc. and on the board of the Resource Development Council of Alaska.
He was a member of the Alaska Community Foundation, the Anchorage Rotary, the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, the Alaska Press Club and the Advisory Committee of the College of Arts and Science at the University of Alaska at Anchorage.
During his long academic career and prior to coming to Alaska, he was President of the Florida Association of University Administrators and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. He was a member of the Chicago Council for Urban Education and the Union for Experimenting Colleges and Universities;
He wrote with Arnold L. Goldsmith a Publication Guide for Literary and Linguistic Scholars, published in 1958.
Milt was a generous contributor to a number of Anchorage organizations and supported many of their projects. Among them are Anchorage United Way, Anchorage Rotary, Commonwealth North, The Support Industry Alliance, The Anchorage Museum, The World Affairs Council, The Alaska Community Foundation and The Salvation Army. Contributions in his memory may be made to any of these or personal favorite organizations.
Milt was an avid reader with a particular interest in American and world history. He was an eternal optimist - his glass was always full. He enjoyed a good lecture and when necessary was prepared to engage the speaker. He also enjoyed traveling, cruising, swimming, walking and seeing a good movie. He particularly enjoyed engaging his children in substantive discussion or debate. He never raised his voice, but quietly and logically presented his views while carefully placing all of his facts into historical perspective. They enjoyed that exchange and cherish those memories.
Milt's younger sister, Frances Sanderson preceded him in death.
He is survived by his wife, Sue, of 1122 Golf Club Road, Las Cruces, NM 88011, three children: D. Toni Byrd of Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, Leslie G. Byrd of Apex, North Carolina, and David T. Byrd of Hudson, New York, one grandson, Gabriel A. S. Byrd of Lewisburg, Pennsylvania and one sister, Thelma Sterling, of Monsey, New York.
A celebration of Milt's life is scheduled for Sunday, June 29, 2014, at 2:00 p.m. at the Petroleum Club, 3301 C Street # 120, Anchorage, Alaska, 99503. - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/adn/obituary.aspx?n=milton-byrd&pid=170...
Juneau Empire. Roger Marks (NGP Photo), a petroleum economist in private practice, gives the House Resources Committee his evaluation of Senate Bill 138 and the associated proposed North Slope natural gas commercialization proposals at the Capitol on Thursday.
National Journal. Two facts should keep Interior Secretary Sally Jewell awake at night.
First, if Republicans win the Senate, Alaska's Sen. Lisa Murkowski (NGP Photo) will wield tremendous leverage over Jewell's department. She would lead both the Energy and Natural Resources Committee that oversees the department and the Appropriations subcommittee that controls its budget.
Second, Murkowski is utterly furious with the Interior Department these days.
Fox News. A petition on the White House website created by “S.V.” of Anchorage is calling on Alaskans and others to "vote" for Alaska to secede from the U.S. and become a part of Russia. (Comment: In the wake of federal government overreach, we can understand a certain logic in advocating secession but not in affiliation with Putin's homeland. -dh)
Fairbanks News Miner by Matt Buxton.
After local mayors raised concerns over how the state’s natural gas pipeline deal could deprive communities of millions in property taxes, Gov. Sean Parnell (NGP Photo) established a board tasked with reviewing the pipeline.
Parnell signed an order creating the Municipal Advisory Gas Project Review Board, which will “develop a framework for assessing the impact and benefits, especially on communities, of a future Alaska natural gas line,” according to a press release Tuesday.
OP-Ed by Joseph Cafariello. The EU’s 28 member states have mandated that the European Commission come up with a plan within three months to outline ways in which Europe can satisfy its energy needs without continued reliance on Russia. (Energy Nation says, "Tell Congress To Increase LNG Exports"; Photo: Map of Ukraine gas pipelines bringing gas from Russia to the EU states.)
|U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, Chair of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, yesterday called the proposed EPA wetlands rule unfair, unwise and unnecessary.’ (Murkowski also opposes EPA rule.)
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (NGP Photo), yesterday called on the Obama administration to expand U.S. energy exports and unshackle the nation’s energy policies to spur economic activity and improve its geopolitical standing.
Obama Administration selective enforcement of wildlife laws re: Energy. Hearing today. See letter.
Comment: A careful reading of this "Monuments" Op-Ed analysis -- released today -- would lead one to believe that Alaska is the poster child for massive federal government land ownership. We believe this analysis demonstrates why the huge monument designations in the state should be found to be illegal.
Proclaiming vast land areas in Alaska to have massive restrictions under the Antiquities Act has removed multiple use and access to millions of acres that do not conform to the "historical" and "cultural" guidelines by which they were designated.
Lastly, the Alaska Statehood Act was based in large measure on Alaskans' ability to make a living from the natural resources of the state. While this concept referred more specifically to the 104.5 million acres specifically allocated to the state, Alaskans had traditionally survived and subsisted in part on use of what were, following statehood, multiple use federal lands.
To, thus, restrict land access and use in the 49th state and elsewhere by presidential fiat, without approval either of Congress or the citizens of the affected state, is a gross misuse of the power to designate "National Monuments" under the Antiquities Act and a frontal attack on States' Rights. -dh
Roll Call Op-Ed by Reps. Rob Bishop (UT-01) and Steve Daines (MT-At Large)
March 25, 2014
The Antiquities Act was established in 1906 as a way for the president to single-handedly create new national monuments. The law provides the president with the express authority to proclaim “historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest” as national monuments, “the limits of which in all cases shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected.”
Today, the new era of national monuments consist of vast swaths of vacant federal land, not specific structures or landmarks.
The Antiquities Act followed on the heels of Westward Expansion, which brought looting and vandalism upon antiquities found on public land throughout newer states and former territories. The environmental laws and protections we have today, such as the National Historic Preservation Act, were not yet in existence, and the president needed a way to expeditiously protect federal lands under imminent threat. The very first national monument was established just three months after the law was enacted. President Theodore Roosevelt designated 1,152 acres in Wyoming as the Devils Tower National Monument. In the 108 years since, the law has been used a total of 137 times by 15 presidents.
While the intended purpose of the Antiquities Act is to protect artifacts of cultural and historic significance, it has been used over the past 108 years as a political arrow in the quiver of many presidents. The act has allowed both Democratic and Republican presidents to work outside of the transparent public process that all other individuals and federal agencies must follow. This is one of the law’s major flaws.
We don’t disagree that many of the spaces and places protected over the last century are worthy of national monument designations. However, not all of these designations were made with public involvement or widespread local support. Federal designations have too great of an impact on local communities for them to be made without the involvement of those closest to the ground. If the proposed designation has widespread support at the local level, presidents shouldn’t have a problem moving the designation through a public process.
In Congress, our committees and subcommittees hear from expert witnesses and local officials as part of legislative review. If the committee review process is positive, bills are more likely to move through the system. If committee reviews go badly, bills are rightfully stalled until the sticking points are addressed. Presidents are not subjected to these same checks and balances when it comes to the Antiquities Act. They are not required to engage the public throughout the process.
Like Congress, the president ought to formally be required to consider the input of local communities and states prior to declaring new national monuments. The inequity of unilateral action lends itself to heavy political influence and pressure from special interests. This is why we are supporting the Ensuring Public Involvement in the Creation of National Monuments Act, which would require the application of the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) to future national monument designations.
Though NEPA is another law largely in need of reform, public participation is at the core of its process, and by making this a requirement of future monument declarations we can ensure that those on the ground have a say in the process. The American people deserve to have input on new policies and laws that will affect their communities and livelihoods. The legislation importantly gives everyone a voice in the process, not just those who happen to have the ear of the president.
WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, will hold a hearing at 10 a.m. EDT today on how the United States can responsibly export natural gas to create high-paying jobs and turn the United States into an energy superpower.
Last week, the Russian government sanctioned Sen. Landrieu from entering Russia.The Senator vowed that the sanction would not stop her pushing to expand domestic energy production, responsibly increase energy exports around the world and continue supporting our allies and lovers of democracy.