In Memory of Shirley Bird Perry

May 5th, 2011 · 12 Comments

Shirley Bird PerryThe University of Texas has lost one of its most beloved and valued senior vice presidents, Shirley Bird Perry, on May 4, 2011. Perry, BS ’58, MA ’67, was a Life Member of the Texas Exes and a Distinguished Alumna.

Shirley Bird held positions of leadership for more than 50 years at her alma mater and at The University of Texas System. “She was creative, strategic, and capable — a special person who embodied the soul of this special place,” UT President Powers wrote in a message to members of the UT community.

Make a gift to the Shirley Bird Perry Endowment Fund for University History.

Please take this opportunity to share your thoughts and remembrances of Shirley Bird Perry below.

12 responses so far ↓

  • 1    Johnnie D. Ray // May 5, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    A lost treasure. A gracious and true leader. God bless and keep her soul.

  • 2    Judy P. Wolf // May 6, 2011 at 1:05 am

    She was the best of the best. Texas has lost a great asset and thousands have lost a friend, mentor, colleague and leader.

    I count it a great privilege to have known and worked with Shirley Bird. God bless you, Shirley Bird. You will be missed.

  • 3    Norm S. Davis, Class of '72 // May 6, 2011 at 1:12 am

    For 40-plus years since I was an undergraduate student, I have been inspired by Shirley building something beautiful from thin air; and making big visions out of small ones, always with her trademark shrewdness and administrative talent, self-effacing humor, and the ability to “get to work” and keep moving. What an incredible person and role-model, to be remembered with love and appreciation!

  • 4    Michael L. Warden, APR, VP Communications & Marketing, Georgia Tech // May 6, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Shirley Bird was a great and gracious lady in every sense.  I will miss her very very much and value her always as a former boss, mentor and friend.

    Heaven is now a better place with Shirley Bird Perry there. It is now very burnt orange and there is finally a dress code!

    Shirley Bird all of us will miss you in our lives.

  • 5    Carole Cable // May 6, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    A great talent and a warm and gracious human being. I feel honored to have known her.

  • 6    Letty Fernandez // May 6, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    Shirley was Miss UT. She was so passionate about UT and passed that on to so many of us. Her love for UT made such an impact on me. I know she will be watching over us up in heaven. I will miss her. Hook em!

  • 7    Robert H. Abzug // May 6, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    I was privileged to be in her company a number of times, and to talk at length about Texas, life, and the University. I can only imagine the sense of loss her husband and close friends must feel, and know how prized she was on campus. Her warmth and delight in life will be remembered as a perfect match to her deeds.

  • 8    Sally Leach // May 6, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    Shirley Bird’s death is an incalculable loss for The University of Texas at Austin and her many close friends and colleagues. No one who knew her or worked with her can ever forget her “grace under pressure” along with her sense of humor. She is irreplaceable to all of us.

  • 9    Cameron Hightower // May 9, 2011 at 12:35 am


    I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side
    Spreads her white sales to the morning breeze
    And starts for the blue ocean.

    She is an object of beauty, grace and strength
    And I stand and watch her until at length
    She hangs like a speck of white cloud at the far horizon
    Just where the sea and sky mingle with each other.

    Then someone at my side says, “There! She’s gone!”
    “Gone where?” I ask myself. Gone from my sight that is all.
    She is just a great in mast and hull and spar as she was
    When she left my sight, and just as able to bear her load
    Of living freight to the place of destination.

    Her diminished size is in me, not in her
    And just at the moment when someone at my side says
    “There! She’s gone,” there are other eyes
    Watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up
    The glad shout, “There she comes!”

  • 10    Richard Seline // May 9, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    This one gracious lady had the greatest influence over thousands of students passionate about their university and their role on its campus. This one effective lady could in a sentence put you at ease about a tough decision or making your first presentation to the Regents. This caring lady knew the best spin of a phrase to put the entire room in a hearty laugh. What am I than all the better for having had her shoulder and her voice to rely upon – and for all these I am blessed that Shirley Bird was and will remain a tutor and an exemplar to share with future generations of Horns. God has an important meeting with her now! Richard Seline

  • 11    Yolanda Estrada // May 9, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    May she be resting in Eternal Peace. I met her one time, years ago, briefly…a very gracious lady….a lady through and through. She will be greatly missed, not only at The University but by all those who had the pleasure of being in her life.

  • 12    Deborah Buks // May 12, 2011 at 11:27 am

    I have always treasured the memory and experience I gained as an intern on a work-study program in her office on The University Centennial, and was always proud to be able to say I had worked for her. My life was enriched on so many levels — from learning how to produce events, work with national business press and edit video to the all-important life lessons I learned there — like which of all these forks and spoons to use when at the banquet, and how to be warm and gracious among all those important people when I was near-petrified at the prospect of even going. Certainly a work and personal experience that bonded my heart to The University forever, and helped set my course for the PR firm I’ve built over the past 21 years.