College Pork

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Longtime West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd died Monday. The 92-year-old statesman will be greatly missed.

He will not, however, be forgotten. Between 1991 and 2008 Byrd directed some $3.3 billion in federal appropriations to West Virginia. Some of this was actually hilarious, like the time his efforts put a Coast Guard operations center in Martinsburg, West Virginia, a town 90 miles from the ocean.

As Benjamin Wallace-Wells wrote in the Monthly back in 2005, “Byrd has become a master of harnessing federal largesse primarily by physically transferring as much of the federal government as possible to his state.”

Thanks to Byrd’s aggressive use of the appropriations process there are many, many things named for the senator in his home state. WTRF-TV of Wheeling, West Virginia reports that the following college programs are named to honor Byrd:

The Robert C. Byrd Academic and Technology Center of MU at South Charleston, Robert C. Byrd Academic and Technology Center at Marshall University, Robert C. Byrd Biotechnology Science Center at Marshall University, Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies at Shepherd University, Robert C. Byrd Center for Pharmacy Education at the University of Charleston, Robert C. Byrd Center at Davis & Elkins College, Robert C. Byrd National Technology Transfer Center at Wheeling Jesuit University, Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarships, Robert C. Byrd Library and Learning Resource Center at Mountain State University in Beckley, Robert C. Byrd Life Long Learning Center at WVU, Robert C. Byrd Science and Technology Center at Shepherd University, [and the] Robert C. Byrd Technology Center at Alderson-Broaddus College.

Byrd was not a major higher education advocate but, to his credit, he was a big West Virginia advocate. And he presented his West Virginia pork as just his way of paying his state back “I came from lowly beginnings,” he wrote in his 2005 autobiography. “I had to have the help of the good Lord, and I’ve had to have the help of the people and the confidence of the people. And I’ve tried to repay them.” [Image via]

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer