Harry Clifton "Curley" Byrd (1889-1970) was president of the university from 1935 to 1954.
A 1908 graduate of the Maryland Agricultural College with a B.S. in engineering, Byrd began his 43-year career at the University of Maryland with a two-week stint coaching football in 1911. He went on to teach English and history, was athletic director and served as an assistant to Raymond Pearson before becoming president.
Under his tenure as president, the University of Maryland became one of the nation's largest universities as a result of New Deal construction projects, wartime training programs and the postwar enrollment boom. Byrd's major accomplishments included the development of an educational extension program that became University College and included a full academic program, partially funded by the Army and Air Force, for overseas military personnel. Byrd also took a personal interest in developing an American studies program. Despite his reluctance, the university began enrolling African-American students in the 1950s.
An accomplished athlete and former Terrapin football star, Byrd as president found the football team's success an effective means of lobbying for state funding to grow the athletics program and build a new football stadium, which opened in 1950. Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium now stands as a reminder of his impact on athletics and the university.
In 1954, Byrd retired to run, unsuccessfully, for governor against Theodore McKeldin.
The University of Maryland is one of the world’s premier research institutions. With our strategic location and scores of partnerships with government and businesses, UMD conducts groundbreaking research on some of the biggest challenges facing our global community, including cybersecurity and terrorism, bioengineering, public health equity, food safety and climate change. We strive to discover new knowledge and put it to work through innovation and entrepreneurship, advancing economic development and transforming lives.
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Home of the Terrapins, the University of Maryland has one of the nation’s most recognizable and successful athletics programs. More than 550 student-athletes compete each year in 20 intercollegiate sports—12 for women and eight for men. Since 2005 alone, Maryland has won 19 national championships, including NCAA titles in women’s basketball, men’s soccer, men's lacrosse, women’s lacrosse, and field hockey. Since joining the Big Ten Conference in 2014, UMD has won a combined 32 regular season and tournament championships. Fear the Turtle!
The Terp experience extends beyond classrooms, labs and studios. It encompasses residence halls and dining halls, clubs and sports, fraternities and sororities, campus events and performances, and countless off-campus destinations. Maryland touts 800-plus student organizations, dozens of prestigious living and learning communities, and countless other ways to get involved. Students here can create a unique identity and grow as individuals, even as they’re part of a close-knit and diverse community.