Kevin Byrne, a 1991 Furman University alumnus and member of the Furman Board of Trustees, has received the 2019 Vision Award from the Association of University Research Parks (AURP).
Byrne, president and CEO of The University Financing Foundation (TUFF) of Atlanta, is chair of the finance committee for Furman’s board.
The award recognizes individuals who have made sustained and exceptional contributions to the national or multinational community of innovation as embodied in research parks, science parks or innovation districts affiliated with institutions of higher education.
While he was AURP president in 2012 and 2014, one of Byrne’s major contributions was a study commissioned to quantify the value of research communities anchored by universities. The report and a more recent study suggested that research parks with universities at their core help mitigate recessions.
During AURP’s 33-year history, only six others have received the Vision Award. Among the past winners are three United States senators – New Mexico Senator Jeff Bingaman, Delaware Senator Christopher Coons and Kansas Senator Jerry Moran – all champions for higher education and innovation funding in Washington.
An honors graduate from Furman, Byrne majored in accounting. He was awarded the Wall Street Journal Student Achievement Award in 1991, the highest honor given by the faculty to a student in the Economics and Business Administration department. He later earned his MBA, with honors, from the Wharton School of Business.
Established in 1982, TUFF is a nationally chartered non-profit 501(c)(3) organization with a central mission to provide facilities and equipment to institutions of education and research at below market cost. Since its inception, TUFF has executed 45 transactions totaling over $1.4 billion.