The campus community mourns the passing of Fred M. Kirby II ’42, who died Tuesday, Feb. 8, at age 91.
“Our gratitude to Fred Kirby for a lifetime of service and generosity to the College is boundless. He was a remarkable person in many ways. I will remember with special appreciation the years in which I had the privilege to work with him,” said President Daniel H. Weiss. “Our thoughts are with Fred’s wife, Walker, and their family, including daughter Alice Kirby Horton; sons Fred III ’80, Dillard ’81, and Jeff ’84; and Jeff’s wife, Karen ’87.”
A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 12, at Grace Episcopal Church, Madison, N.J.
Under Fred Kirby’s leadership for more than four decades (1967-2010), his family foundation – the F.M. Kirby Foundation – continued a legacy of extraordinary support of Lafayette. Begun by his grandfather, Fred Morgan (F.M.) Kirby, and carried on by his father, Allan Price Kirby ’15, the family’s generous support is evident on campus in the Fred Morgan Kirby Professorship in Civil Rights, Kirby Hall of Civil Rights, Kirby House student residence, Allan P. Kirby Sports Center, and the recent renovation of Fisher Stadium. But the support has touched and benefited generations of Lafayette students and faculty in ways that reach far beyond these most visible signs.
The College awarded Fred Kirby the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws in 1984 at Lafayette’s 149thCommencement. At the same ceremony, his son, Jefferson W. Kirby ’84, was awarded the George Wharton Pepper Prize as the senior who “most nearly represents the Lafayette ideal.” In 2007, Fred Kirby was inducted into the College’s Maroon Club Hall of Fame. He was a member of Lafayette’s undefeated 1940 football team, and won varsity letters swimming and wrestling. He served on the College’s Board of Trustees from 1967 to 1975.
The remarkable relationship of the Kirby family with Lafayette College spans a century. It began in 1911, when Allan Kirby enrolled at the College as a first-year student. Although Allan attended Lafayette for only one semester, F.M. Kirby began a life-long affiliation with the College, becoming a trustee in 1916 and serving on the board until his death in 1940. Allan’s commitment to Lafayette also lasted all his life. He served as president of the Alumni Association for an unprecedented two terms (1929-1931) and was elected a lifetime trustee in 1937.