Curley Byrd graduated at the age of nineteen, from the Maryland Agricultural College, as the University of Maryland was then known, with a degree in civil engineering. He returned to his alma mater late in 1912 as an instructor in English, an assistant in physical culture, and football coach. Byrd rapidly climbed the administrative ranks at the university, becoming Vice President in 1932. When Raymond Pearson resigned as president in 1935, the Board of Regents named Byrd acting president, making his appointment permanent on February 21, 1936. Many view him as the father of the modern University of Maryland. Byrd went on to become known, appropriately, as a builder; of enrollment, of budgets, of buildings. Between the time of Byrd's appointment as vice president in the '20s and his resignation as president in 1954, the university's take of the state budget more than quadrupled to $4,500,000, and enrollment jumped from under 2,000 to more than 15,000. In a 1941 book, "Curley Byrd Catches the Worm" by Bob Considine, a writer for the Saturday Evening Post, Considine describes him as the "dictator, president, athletic director, football coach, comptroller, chief lobbyist and glamour boy supreme." "Curley is the most-hated and most-beloved man in Maryland," wrote Considine. In 1954, Byrd resigned from the presidency to run unsuccessfully for governor of Maryland against Theodore McKeldin. In retirement, he pursued a career in real estate, banking, construction, and publishing and two unsuccessful campaigns for the U. S. House of Representatives.
Bio by: RosalieAnn