Grand Gift Honors Devoted Educator

When WilmaRia Kim Boyd passed away in 2016, her husband Dan, a retired Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps, honored her memory with a gift to SOU that embodied both her lifelong focus on learning and her love of music. He donated her Steinway piano to the university’s Music Program. “It seemed the appropriate thing to do,” said Dan “She devoted her life to education, and she loved music.”

Indeed, Kim had a deep passion for learning, boundless energy, as well as the determination to accomplish things others wouldn’t dare. Born in 1930, in Berlin, Germany, she came to the U.S. as a young bride. While working and raising a family, she earned a scholarship to Eastern Washington University and graduated with distinction in just three years.

The young mother became a middle school German teacher, and was selected as the television teacher for the German-language program that served viewers in Eastern Washington, Idaho, and Montana. During this time, the unstoppable Kim also earned a master’s degree in education, taught evening classes, and (by herself) built a three-bedroom house for the family. “She could do just about anything she set her mind to,” said Dan.

Later, Kim earned her doctorate and took a leadership position with Oregon’s higher education system office in Eugene. The position required long-distance travel throughout Oregon, so she earned a private pilot’s license and used her own airplane to commute. “She was a very accomplished woman in many fields,” said Dan. “But education was her passion. She was pushy about it.”

Kim shared that passion with countless students throughout the country and in Europe. After retirement, she and Dan settled in Ashland, where she enjoyed the beauty of southern Oregon, gardening, and, of course, her piano. “Music was always a part of her life,” noted Dan. And donating Kim’s beloved Steinway to SOU seemed the perfect gift to help future generations of students.

“Fostering education is something that will pay off many times over in the future,” shared Dan.