Dr. William C. Byham established this fund in honor of his mother, Brice Michael Byham, to recognize her dedication to teaching English in Parkersburg schools for 17 years. The fund provides the opportunity for Parkersburg High School and Parkersburg South High School students to attend a summer program in an English related field.
Mrs. Byham's schooling did not begin until she was eight years old. After her mother died when Mrs. Byham was only six, she moved from aunt to aunt with no time for formal schooling until 1920, when she found a permanent home in Parkersburg with her aunt and uncle, Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Allender. Making up for her slow start, Mrs. Byham spent one month in first grade, two months in second grade, and by the end of the year, she had caught up with her same-age classmates at McKinley School. After Mrs. Byham graduated from PHS, she attended Ohio University. After graduation, she married college basketball star Edgar Byham, and they moved to Parkersburg. Mrs. Byham began substitute teaching at PHS, then secured a position teaching Latin and English at Washington Junior High School. As soon as she could, Mrs. Byham gave up teaching Latin to concentrate on English. She quickly became known as one of the outstanding teachers at Washington Junior High. Her students remember her as a teacher who cared and got involved. In addition to teaching, Mrs. Byham was a member of Trinity Episcopal Church and was active in Parkersburg civic activities and women's organizations. Mrs. Byham is the mother of two sons, William Byham of Pittsburgh and Kimberly Byham of Guttenberg, NJ, the grandmother of four, and the great grandmother of one. Mr. Byham died in January 1998 in Pittsburgh, where the Byhams had moved to be near their elder son, Bill, and Mrs. Byham died in November 2002.
Mr. and Mrs. Byham are responsible for fostering two important interests in Bill: a fondness of business from working at this father's business, The Shaver and Byham Funeral Home, and a passion for English instilled by his mother. After graduating from PHS, Dr. Byham attended Ohio University where he earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees, and then received his Ph.D. from Purdue University. After Purdue, Dr. Byham landed a job with Kenyon & Eckhardt advertising agency in New York City. He worked there for two years, until he began employment at the J.C. Penney Company of New York in 1964. Under Dr. Byham's direction, J.C. Penney was one of the first companies to use the assessment center method that required employees to complete a simulation of job skills before they could be promoted to a more demanding position. International recognition and published articles in the Harvard Business Review and other professional publications influenced Dr. Byham to start his own company. The Byhams (Bill, his wife Carolyn, and his two children, Tacy and Carter) moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1970 where Dr. Byham founded Development Dimensions International (DDI). Today, DDI is one of the largest private businesses in the world providing training materials. DDI branches can be found in 22 countries. The company serves more than 12,000 customers, including 400 of the Fortune 500 companies, and trains more than two million people a year.