Joseph J. Byrne first saw the light of day in Somerville, Massachusetts. With the exception of a few years spent at Purdue University earning a PhD in Chemistry, and a year in Stamford, Connecticut as a research chemist, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has been the constant benefactor of Joe’s charm, wisdom, and good judgment.
Joe worked for the Monsanto Research Corporation for a decade, but was, for over thirty years, a mainstay of Tufts University, first as an invaluable member of the Tufts Faculty, and later as Research Coordinator for the Tufts Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, Administrator of the Tufts Basic Science Research Center, Associate Dean for Governmental Affairs, Director of Government Resources, and finally, as the Associate Provost for Research.
No “"snapshot" of Joe’s life would be complete without mention of his deep devotion to his wife, Katy, and to his four adult children and their ever-growing families. A more hands-on father and “grandpa” would be difficult to find, and it’s a genuine mystery as to how Joe manages to give so much of himself to so many. "Ours is not to reason why," though, but only to be grateful for his generosity and dedication to such a large number of people and organizations.
But all of the above, glorious though it is, is not why we honored Joe at our Founders Awards ceremony in 2005. Instead, we honored him for his considerable role in bringing PRIM&R into the future. Joe Byrne was a founding member of PRIM&R and served as the organization’s Treasurer for over two decades. He has guided PRIM&R’s growth with caution and wisdom and generally shepherded organizational growth from a “no money in the bank” cottage industry to the thriving organization we are today. Thanks to Joe’s stewardship, PRIM&R survived the lean years and is now in its 32nd year of existence.
But Joe is no mere “numbers man.” He has generated ideas for many of our most successful conferences. It was Joe, for example, who recommended that PRIM&R get involved with both the animal research issue and the conflict of interest/misconduct areas, both of which are now key parts of PRIM&R’s educational offerings.
Joe Byrne is a man whose "calm-come-what-may" demeanor, endless wisdom, humility, brilliance, and effective leadership are gifts to all who know him, and we are honored to publicly present him with a small token of our huge debt of gratitude.