Bradley University will receive a transformational gift of $1 million annually in perpetuity through a multi-million-dollar commitment from the Earl and Evelyn "Lovie" Beard Trust. The Beards' gift will drive innovation in their sciences curriculum with a specific focus on scholarships.

Earl and Lovie Beard’s appreciation for discovery is well represented in Bradley University’s commitment to offering undergraduate students the opportunity to participate in faculty-led research from the beginning of their academic careers. The new science scholarships will create access to an outstanding education for students who may have thought a degree from a private university was out of reach for them. Because of the thoughtful efforts of Earl and Lovie Beard, Bradley will further enhance research programs while increasing the number of students studying in these areas.

Earl Beard is a graduate of Peoria Central High School and is a 1945 Medical Technology graduate of Bradley University. He received his medical degree from the Northwestern University Fienberg School of Medicine. After working for the United States Air Force for several years, Dr. Beard became a founding partner of the Kelsey-Seybold Clinic in 1954, where he was a pioneer in cardiac catheterization. Dr. Beard helped establish the cardiac catheterization laboratories at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital and Texas Children's Hospital. He also played an integral role in arranging the first occupational medicine contract with NASA in the 1960s as the Johnson Space Center was being built. Dr. Beard retired as Co-Chair of Cardiology after more than 60 years of service. 

In 1992 he received an honor award from the American College of Sports Medicine, Texas Chapter, for outstanding scientific and scholarly contributions to sports medicine. In 1995, Beard was presented the Civil Aviation Medical Association Award of Merit, and in 1996 Dr. Beard received the Texas Heart Institute Cardiology Society Gold Stethoscope Award and an honorary Doctor of Science Degree from Texas Lutheran University.

Lovie Beard also excelled in the field of medicine and spent the early part of her professional life working with the United States Air Force, before moving on to a 32-year career as a surgical nurse at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. In addition, Lovie was a very accomplished tennis player. She competed in tournaments across the U.S. and internationally, and rose to the level of the #1 ranked player in the state of Texas for her age bracket and won the National Championship in 2012 in the Senior Circuit division.

Through their extraordinary generosity and foresight, Earl and Lovie Beard have left a lasting impact on future scientists and an incredible legacy at Bradley University.

Dr. Christopher Jones, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, said, "This gift will make a great impact on the lives and options available to young people studying at Bradley. It will fundamentally change the lives of many students for years to come and help us continue to deliver a truly first-rate education. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is exceedingly grateful to the Beards for their tremendous generosity.”