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Harry Clifton Byrd

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 temporary two-week stint coaching football in 1911. He taught 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 largest universities in the country as a result of New Deal construction projects, war-time training programs, and the post-war 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.

An accomplished athlete and former Terrapin football star player, Byrd never lost interest in the game of football. As president, he found the football team's success an effective means of lobbying for dollars from state legislators. The athletic program thus grew significantly under Byrd's guidance. Byrd used university funds to build a new football stadium, which opened in 1950 with a win over Navy. 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. He was honored posthumously in 1995 as an inductee to the University of Maryland Alumni Hall of Fame.


The University of Maryland is the flagship campus of the state’s higher educational system and a top-ranked public research institution. We are a diverse community of 38,000 students, 9,000 faculty and staff, and 352,000 alumni, all dedicated to the pursuit of Fearless Ideas. Located just outside Washington, D.C., we discover and share new knowledge every day through our renowned research enterprise and programs in academics, the arts and athletics. And we are committed to social entrepreneurship as the nation’s first “Do Good” campus. 


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Spanning 12 schools and colleges, Maryland offers more than 200 degree-granting programs, many of them ranked among the best in the country. Our faculty includes three Nobel laureates, two Pulitzer Prize winners, 60 members of the national academies and scores of Fulbright scholars. And our students, who include the highest achievers in the state and nation, enjoy experiences unique to our location just outside the nation’s capital, including internships, research, and leadership and service opportunities.

Research and Innovation

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. 


At the University of Maryland, the arts, the humanities and the sciences intersect to address important societal issues and shed new light on the human experience. Our vibrant campus arts community collaborates with local and national cultural organizations such as the Phillips Collection, Kennedy Center and Folger Shakespeare Library. Student and faculty artists, designers, historians, writers and performers are exploring new media, presenting new perspectives, investigating new techniques and engaging new audiences.


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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 19 intercollegiate sports—11 for women and eight for men. Since 2005 alone, Maryland has won 16 national championships, including NCAA titles in women’s basketball, men’s soccer and women’s lacrosse. Since joining the Big Ten Conference in 2014, UMD has won a combined 17 regular season and tournament championships. Fear the Turtle!

Student Life

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. 

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