Luther Stanford Beard

(21 February 1929 – 22 November 2012)

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Herbarium (NCU) curates over 270 vascular plant specimens collected by Luther Stanford Beard. Without doubt more specimens collected by Beard will be found as NCU continues to catalog collections.  Beard signed herbarium labels as “L. S. Beard” and was known as “Stan Beard” to his colleagues.  The photo (above) of Beard is from the 1967 yearbook of Campbell University, the Pine Burr.

Luther Stanford Beard was born on 21 February 1929 in Aiken County, South Carolina to Sailor Oswald Beard (1888-1966) and Lillie Frances McCrackan (1890-1970).  Two of Stanford’s older brothers served in the United States military and died in World War II:  Sailor Oswald Beard  (1914- 1944  ; died in France) and Houston Wendell Beard (1917- 1943; died in Italy).  Other siblings included Bradwell McCrackan Beard (1915-1990), Edith Pamela Beard (1917- 1960), Edna Ruth Beard (1919-1991), Bryan Spencer Beard, Sr. (1926-2003), Wayne Beard (?) and Roland C. Beard (1931- ).1,5

Beard earned his Bachelor degree at Furman University in South Carolina, and served in the United States Army during the Korean Conflict. Beard taught Biology at Aiken High School, then came to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for graduate studies.He earned his M.A. in the Botany Department under Dr. A. E. Radford in 1958 with his thesis, “A floristic study along the Lower Deep River of North Carolina”.  He continued with Radford as his academic advisor for his doctoral work, and completed his Ph.D. thesis “A taxonomic study of Mimosa quadrivalvis L. (Schrankia Willd. nom. cons.)” in 1963.

While still a doctoral student he began his long association with Campbell University in Harnett County, North Carolina.  “On August, 9, 1963, Mr. Stan Beard defended a doctoral dissertation on the genus Schrankia.  This event was not only the culmination of several years of graduate work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, but it was the final step of preparation of what became a career of teaching at Campbell University — Mr. Beard became Dr. Beard.  Two and one-half years earlier, on April 20, 1961, Dr. Leslie H. Campbell, then President of Campbell College, accompanied his contractual offer of employment to then Mr. Beard with a letter which reads, in part: “I was very much pleased with your statement of qualifications and your apparent dedication of purpose.  I believe that you will be able to render a distinct service in a Christian college.”… While a member of the Campbell faculty, in the early years of his tenure here, Dr. Beard was given the supreme compliment of having his alma mater, Furman University, inquire of him whether he intended to remain in Buies Creek and whether he would consider coming back to Furman.  He declined to return to his native South Carolina and has remained here for thirty-three years, teaching through the academic ranks, and serving as Chairman of the Department of Biology from 1963 to 1975.”

“[Beard] was the first chairman of the Biology department and had a great influence in the direction the Biology department would take.  As a teacher, he tries to “present to students in as balanced a way as possible the difference between what is hard and disputable fact and what’s based on concept.”  He contends that “textbooks are too one-sided in the matter of origin.”  As a strong creationist, he feels that evolutionists do not recognize creationism as a legitimate alternative theory.  Therefore, he tries to take a proper approach with all students in providing a balance between fact and philosophy, allowing the student an alternative in order to make his or her own choice… Such balances of Christian commitment and scientific expertise is seldom found, and with Dr. L. Stanford Beard we find these attributes, wrapped up in a wonderful sense of humor… It is for these reasons that the Pine Burr staff is proud and honored to dedicate the 1989-90 Pine Burr Yearbook to Dr. L. Stanford Beard.”4

Stan Beard was married to Lois D. Whatley (1929-2007)and together they had two sons, Kevin and Eldon.1,5

Beard retired from Campbell University in 1994, and died at age 83 on 22 November 2012. He is buried in the cemetery of Oak Grove Baptist Church in Angier, Harnett County, North Carolina.5,6


Beard, L. Stanford.  1958.  A floristic study along the Lower Deep River of North Carolina.  M.A. Thesis, Botany Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Beard, L. Stanford.  1963.  A taxonomic study of Mimosa quadrivalvis L. (Schrankia Willd. nom. cons.)  Ph.D. Thesis, Botany Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Beard, L. Stanford.  1959.  Notes on the vascular flora along the lower Deep River of North Carolina.  Journal of the Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society 75(2):  132-134.


  1.  accessed on 12 November 2020.
  2. Retirement Recognition Dinner , Campbell University, May 1994. Wiggins Memorial Library, Campbell University.
  3. Aiken High School yearbook [incomplete citation]
  4. Strickland, Valerie.  1990.  Dr. L. Stanford Beard:  Committed to Excellence.  Pine Burr, Yearbook of Campbell University, Buies Creek, North Carolina.  pages 8-9.
  5. Obituary:  Dr. L. Stanford Beard.  accessed on 12 November 2020.
  6. Personal communication, Marie Berry to McCormick, email of 12 November 2020.
Special thanks to Marie S. Berry, Head Access Services, Wiggins Memorial Library, Campbell University for documents concerning L. Stanford Beard’s career at Campbell University.