Alma Byrd, PhD

A native of Aiken County, Alma Byrd, PhD has spent 45 years educating the children of South Carolina.  After 17 years in the public school system, she began teaching at Benedict College in Columbia. She heads the English and Foreign Language Department and is a professor of French and World Literature. Dr. Byrd’s educational background is almost as impressive as her teaching career.  After attending Schofield High School in Aiken County, she received a bachelor’s degree in French and English from Benedict College.  She later earned a master’s degree in French from Columbia University in New York.  Seeking to prefect her French, she continued her education at The Sorbonne in Paris and the University de Poiteire in La Rochelle.  In 1978, she received her Ph.D. in comparative literature from the University of South Carolina.  Dr. Byrd has also made contributions to society by her involvement in community service.  She co-founded the James Clark Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation.  She was awarded the Palmetto Lady Award by Governor Richard W. Riley. As president of the Columbia section of the National Council of Negro Women, she is working to provide drug education for teenagers. In 1980, she was elected to the Richland County School District One Board of Trustees. Five years later, she was elected chair of the school board, a position she held for one year.  In 1987, she ran unopposed for reelection and has served on the school board since that election. Dr. Byrd’s goal has been to instill in her student “a sense of moral integrity so that they can become effective servants of mankind.”