Bits of Stone for Sunday, April 7
By Dean Stone | (email@example.com)
Randy Boyd listens, learns, leads better higher education in state
Randy Boyd, 53, who has had a positive effect in Blount County and Tennessee is featured on the cover of the April issue of the Greater Knoxville Business Journal.
For readers who may not know Randy or have access to the publication, he grew up in Knoxville and also has a Blount residence in the Townsend area.
As a student at Doyle High he unsuccessfully led an effort to prove the open classroom fad of the 1970s was an ineffective learning environment. As a student with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) he says he did not do well.
(ADHD is one of the most common childhood psychiatric conditions, affecting 9.5 percent of school-aged children in the United States).
Randy overcame that issue and is currently devoted to improving learning opportunities. He serves as a full-time, unpaid special adviser on higher education to Gov. Bill Haslam, who he had worked with as a volunteer while Haslam was Knoxville mayor.
He works from an office in the Tennessee Higher Education’s Nashville offices Monday through Thursday and on Friday uses a small former conference room on UT’s Knoxville campus.
Technology one of keys to success
Randy believes one reason for increasing inequality in school success among children with means and those who are deemed at-risk because of poverty is the lack of access to technology. He has been proving his point that technology enables students to access a trove of learning beyond schoolhouse walls with his donations to Pond Gap Elementary School in Knox County.
Because he and his wife, Jenny, have two sons he has an added interest in improving all education.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in industrial management at UT and a masters in liberal studies at the University of Oklahoma, he was working in his father Tom Boyd’s farm products businesses. He came up with the idea for a fence with buried wire and a radio collar to keep dogs confined.
In 1991, he founded Radio Systems Corp. and serves as chairman, CEO and majority shareholder of the 600-employee Knoxville-based company. It has annual sales exceeding $300 million for its 4,000 technology-based products sold under several brand names in seven countries.
That is some of his background. His awards, achievements and recognitions are far too numerous to attempt to list but I can tell you more about him, having served with him on the board of the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center in Townsend.
First of all, he is a very quiet person who listens, learns and leads to better solutions, especially in education. You never hear him talk about who or how he has helped unless you ask.
Two of his major efforts in Blount County:
Blount County Animal Care Center
A county solution to a major need to help safely care for apparently unowned animals running loose in the county. On more than one occasion, the unassuming Boyd came to the rescue of Chris Protzman, Don Story and others seeking to complete that effort with major donations.
In addition, he created six public dog parks in the Knoxville area.
Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center
It was a major gift by Randy Boyd that founded the Cades Cove Tour availability offered by the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center.
Concerned by the need for better access to the beauties of Cades Cove, Randy conceived and led in execution of the idea in order to make the unique visit more easily available and lower pollution.
To date, this effort has provided greater access to Cades Cove and at the same time reduced the equivalent of 5,000 cars on the Loop Road.
In addition, Randy made a significant gift to the performance amphitheater at the Heritage Center.
We are certain the entire Blount community appreciates Randy Boyd’s financial support of many worthwhile projects. We do also. However, even more important may be his ability to think outside the box with workable ideas which make our area and our nation an even better place in which to live and learn.
How well do you know Ben Franklin?
One of the leading figures of early American history, Benjamin Franklin (1706-90) was a statesman, author, publisher, scientist, inventor and diplomat. Born into a Boston family of modest means, Franklin had little formal education. He went on to start a successful printing business in Philadelphia and grew wealthy.
Franklin was deeply active in public affairs in his adopted city, where he helped launch a lending library, the nation’s first hospital and a college, and garnered acclaim for his experiments with electricity, among other projects.
During the American Revolution, he served in the Second Continental Congress and helped draft the Declaration of Independence in 1776. He also negotiated the 1783 Treaty of Paris that ended the Revolutionary War (1775-83). In 1787, in his final significant act of public service, he was a delegate to the convention that produced the U.S. Constitution.
We ran across this interesting multiple choice quiz:
1. Which of these well-known quotes is not attributed to Franklin?
a. “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”
b. “Well done is better than well said.”
c. “A penny saved is a penny earned.”
d. “Give me liberty, or give me death.”
2. In addition to the Liberty Bell, what American symbol is included on the back of the Benjamin Franklin half-dollar as a result of a 1792 law?
3. Which of the flowing was invented by Franklin?
a. The lightning rod.
c. The odometer.
d. All of the above.
4. True or false: Benjamin Franklin was honored on the first U.S. postage stamp.
5. Benjamin Franklin was appointed president of which venerable Ivy League institution on Nov. 13, 1749?
6. The largest gathering the city of Philadelphia had ever known occurred on April 21, 1790. What was the occasion?
1. Franklin the first three. The last by Patrick Henry.
2. An eagle next to the Liberty Bell.
3. All of the above, lightning rod in 1749, odometer in 1775, bifocals in 1794.
4. True. For his contributions as first Postmaster General.
5. Academy of Philadelphia in 1749, known today as University of Pennsylvania.
6. Franklin was buried that day. An estimated 20,000 gathered to pay tribute.
Dean Stone is editor of The Times.