Thursday, November 3, 2016

Remembering Budd Bishop

There are many words that come to mind to describe a champion.  Advocate, winner, leader, passionate, supportive, success, and dedicated are a few.  Budd Bishop was all of these and so much more. He was a champion for Volunteer State Community College at Livingston.
Budd Bishop, an accomplished artist, museum director, educator, author, community activist, and education advocate passed away on October 23, 2016.
Budd and his wife Julia were familiar faces at Vol State Livingston.  Immediately upon entering the building, a prominently displayed plaque that reads Budd Harris Bishop and Julia Crowder Bishop Lobby pays homage to the Bishops’ leadership and financial contributions to Vol State Livingston.
Budd’s love for education and Vol State Livingston goes back to 2004 when he and Julia became very involved with the campus.  The college had started a capital campaign to raise funds for a two-part building expansion, and Budd and Julia went to work.  They worked tirelessly raising funds, in addition to providing financial support from the start of the campaign to the completion of the second phase.
“I met Budd and Julia when I served as President of Vol State and visited the Livingston Campus,” said Warren Nichols, vice chancellor for community colleges for the Tennessee Board of Regents.  “Budd and Julia not only expressed a passion for helping students attend college but wanted the college to help promote a higher quality of life for the entire Livingston community.  Budd and Julia were not only among the first in the community to donate a significant amount of funds to support the expansion of the Livingston campus but became the primary organizers for soliciting community and individual supporters for Vol State.”

Both Bishops served on Vol State Livingston’s President’s Advisory Board since its inception.  “Budd’s caliber of leadership was on a national level,” Michael Powell, director of Vol State Livingston stated. 
Budd and Julia wanted to make education attainable for all and have been active in Vol State’s Foundation. They established the Budd and Julia Bishop Scholarships that annually award full tuition for two students to attend Vol State Livingston.  Budd delighted in hearing about the academic success of the scholarship recipients. 
Budd and Julia are members of the Hal R. Ramer Society for the Volunteer State College Foundation.  Because of their generous gifts, they have attained the Trustee Level.
“One of Budd’s great joys in life was his commitment for education,” said Greg McDonald, director of the Livingston-Overton County Chamber of Commerce.   “He was compassionate about helping under-served children obtain an education.  Budd and I were attending a reception when he approached me with his vision of developing a fund raising campaign to provide scholarships for local students to attend Vol State, and that discussion resulted in Vol E Ball.  Budd always displayed a high quality of excellence in his work as was evident at the Vol E Ball galas, which were outstanding.”

Vol E Ball became an annual gala that brought the community together in support of scholarships for Overton County residents to attend Vol State.  Budd led the committee’s fundraising efforts in securing individual and corporate sponsorships and contributions as well as selling tickets to the gala. Since the first Vol E Ball in 2011, net income of $120,000 has been deposited with the Vol State College Foundation, which administers the scholarships.
Further, Budd and Julia recognized the value of having a community college in Overton County and wanted to raise awareness and promote the college as the first college choice for students. Upon learning that eligible Livingston Academy (LA) High School students were unable to take Vol State Dual Enrollment classes due to a lack of funds, Budd and the Vol E Ball committee decided to allocate Vol E Ball scholarships to LA Dual Enrollment students in an initiative named Vol State First.  More than 200 students have received Vol State First scholarships.
“Budd was a kind, unassuming, personable, soft-spoken gentleman who knew how to get things done.”  Nichols added, “It was apparent from our conversations, and most importantly, from his actions, that Budd delivered on his promises.  The initiative and dedication he and Julia demonstrated by their many contributions, and the Vol E Ball event they produced that raised a substantial amount of scholarship dollars for Vol State will forever keep them in my fondest and grateful prayers.”
Budd was also civic minded and active in the community.  Praise of his contributions is echoed by many throughout Overton County.
“Budd and his wife Julia were the epitome of class.  When they ate out in town, they were always impeccably dressed, which I felt exemplified the respect that they had for each other and the community,” McDonald said.  “Budd was not from this area, but he loved this city.  One of his favorite hobbies was community involvement, and his donation of time and expertise to the community was remarkable.  Budd was working with the Downtown Revitalization Committee (DRC) on various projects including the new Central Park that is under construction.  He always put service before self and he was humble.  The committee wanted to name the new park the Bishop Park but Budd would not allow it.  He insisted that the park be named Central Park.”
Millard Oakley shared, “Budd Bishop was a valued friend and citizen of Livingston.  He was certainly civic minded and was the father of the Vol State event, Vol E Ball.  He devoted countless hours to Vol State and other endeavors locally.  A new park has been approved largely through the efforts of Budd and Julia Bishop.  He will be missed.”
Powell expressed his eternal gratitude for Budd’s great love for humanity, which extended to the farthest reaches. The highest praise he could offer is to say that Budd was a true friend.
Vol State President Jerry Faulkner summed it up, “Budd Bishop was a great supporter of Vol State and a great friend.  He recognized the value of education and wanted every citizen of Overton County to be able to take advantage of what Vol State offered in Livingston.  He was one of the most positive persons I have ever met.  He will be greatly missed.”  
Vol State Livingston has lost a champion and a best friend in Budd Bishop.  He will be forever remembered.
-Sherry Gabelman, Vol State Livingston

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