"He was very good to Shepherd. We have three buildings on campus thanks to Sen. Byrd," said Valerie Owens, the university's director for external affairs.
The Erma Ora Byrd Hall for nursing education opened in 2007, and Byrd secured $10 million in federal money for it.
In 2002, the Scarborough Library addition was completed. It houses the Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies, which contains the archive of Sen. Byrd's papers.
"The idea is to protect them, preserve them and make them available for researchers," Owens said.
In the mid-1990s, Byrd guided $9 million to build the Robert C. Byrd Science and Technology Center at Shepherd. The building houses science classrooms.
"We've been very fortunate to have such a good relationship with the senator and we will miss him dearly," she said.
Jim Skidmore, chancellor of the state's Community and Technical College System, said Byrd always supported improving the Pell grant program, which "really helped a lot of disadvantaged students" attend both two- and four-year colleges.
In addition to Morris Harvey, Byrd also had taken classes at Concord College in Mercer County.
"I was very aware of and impressed with Robert Byrd's legacy before I came to West Virginia," Concord University President Gregory F. Aloia, the school's president since 2008, said in a statement.
"Robert Byrd has been a strong advocate for higher education and has continually supported initiatives for West Virginians to have access to and graduate from college," Dr. Aloia said. "One of the challenges for West Virginia today is how to get non-traditional students to finish a degree. As a non-traditional straight-A student, Senator Byrd served as a great role model for West Virginians in this regard."
Byrd would frequently visit the University of Charleston campus, where he had given speeches and delivered commencement addresses. He'd always ask Welch how his old political science professor, Evelyn Harris, was doing.
"She was the best and most inspiring professor that he'd had," he said.
In 2004, UC opened the Erma Byrd Art Gallery. Byrd had visited the gallery, and Welch heard the senator speak to his wife about the artwork over the phone.
"He called to describe to her the gallery he knew she would never see," Welch said. "She was in bad health and they were never able to forecast when she could travel -- whether it'd be a good day or bad day."Reach Davin White at davinwh...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1254.