SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Television personality and Drury University alumnus Bob Barker has given his alma mater a cool million dollars, the school announced this morning.
Barker, a 1947 graduate of the school and longtime advocate for animal welfare, has given $600,000 to provide scholarships to students pursuing a minor or credential in Animal Studies at Drury and $400,000 to provide funding for experiential learning grants for students pursuing a minor or credential in Animal Studies at Drury.
Both grants are given as endowed scholarship funds and are named for his late wife Dorothy Jo Barker. She was a Springfield resident before the two met at Drury and married in Springfield.
In a news release today, school spokesman Mike Brothers said Barker has donated donated a total of $3.1 million to his alma mater since 2008 to establish and support the interdisciplinary Animal Studies Program – one of the first such programs at the undergraduate level in the United States.
Drury’s program is entirely funded by Barker’s gifts, the release said. His contributions have also established the Dorothy Jo Barker Endowed Professorship of Animal Rights, currently held by Dr. Patricia McEachern.
The release goes on to say: “The scholarships and internships Bob Barker has established by this very generous gift will change the lives of our students immeasurably, and they will improve the lives of animals,” McEachern says. “I am so grateful.”
“Drury is honored and thankful to receive this gift from Mr. Barker,” says Drury President Dr. Tim Cloyd. “We are fortunate to be able to help make real Bob’s passion for animals. Drury University is able to place bright young minds into this important field thanks to his support. Gifts such as these have a ripple effect – on the lives of our graduates, and the world around them.”
Bob Barker earned a B.A. in economics from Drury College in 1947, after returning to school following training as a Navy fighter pilot in the waning days of World War II. After graduation, he pursued a career in broadcasting that included a stint on Springfield radio station KTTS before eventually moving to California with his wife, Dorothy Jo. He went on to host and star on audience participation television shows, including “Truth or Consequences” and a 35-year run on “The Price Is Right.” Barker has been an animal rights advocate for decades and has supported animal issues through both personal activism and funding over the years.