SPRINGFIELD, Mo., August 26, 2023 — The Drury University family is celebrating the life and legacy of alumnus Bob Barker following his passing at the age of 99. Barker graduated from Drury College in 1947 and began his long and successful broadcasting career in Springfield.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Bob’s family, friends and fans today,” said Drury President John Beuerlein. “Bob was a wonderful, caring person whose passion for his chosen causes burned brightly. He made a difference in the world, and he certainly made a difference for Drury students with his generous gifts to the university.”
Barker, one of the world’s most visible and well-known animal advocates, donated a total of $3.1 million to his alma mater to establish and support the interdisciplinary Animal Studies Program – one of the first such programs at the undergraduate level in the United States. Barker’s generous contributions have also established the Dorothy Jo Barker Endowed Professorship of Animal Rights, currently held by Dr. Patricia McEachern. His gift also funded an endowed scholarship and an endowed experiential learning grant fund for students pursuing a minor or credential in Animal Studies at Drury.
“I’ve lost a dear friend and so have animals all over the world,” said McEachern. “Bob Barker was the Mother Teresa of animals and the kindest, most generous man I have ever known. It is because of Bob Barker’s efforts that most of us have our cats and dogs spayed or neutered. He has helped relocate countless abused elephants, lions, tigers and chimps to sanctuaries. Bob’s generosity to Drury has allowed me to do the most meaningful work of my life through our Animal Studies minor, for which I will always be grateful.”
About Bob Barker
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. While at Drury, Barker was a member of the Panthers basketball team and Sigma Nu fraternity.
While at Drury, he began pursuing a career in broadcasting that included a part-time stint on Springfield radio station KTTS. He and his wife eventually moved to Florida and then on to California in 1950 to follow that passion. Barker landed radio gigs in Los Angeles and 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 became a vegetarian in the late 1970s and, following his wife’s death due to lung cancer in the early 1980s, he began his personal advocacy for animals in order to honor her passion for animals. From his signature sign-off phrase reminding owners to spay or neuter their pets to his staunch support of animal groups and animal issues on a global scale, Barker became perhaps just as well known for his chosen cause as for his five-decade run on television.
Drury is an independent University, church related, grounded in the liberal arts tradition and committed to personalized education in a community of scholars who value the arts of teaching and learning. Education at Drury seeks to cultivate spiritual sensibilities and imaginative faculties as well as ethical insight and critical thought; to foster the integration of theoretical and practical knowledge; and to liberate persons to participate responsibly in and contribute to a global community.
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