C'mon down! Bob Barker, the erstwhile host of The Price is Right
and longtime animal rights activist, has just donated $1 million to his alma mater, Drury University
in Springfield, MO, to establish a professorship in animal rights. Barker hopes it will be the beginning of a full-fledged program in animal rights, the nation's first.
The professorship went to Patricia McEachern
, a professor of French.
"I think some students would become full-fledged animal rights
activists," Barker told the Associated Press
. "Some will become lawyers and doctors who will
always be interested in animal rights. And some will have more respect
Barker, who graduated from Drury in 1947 with a degree in economics, was inspired to support animal rights by his late wife Dorothy Jo. After her death in 1981, he decided to honor her memory by becoming an activist. (The new professorship at Drury is named for her.)
He would close every episode of The Price is Right
by urging the audience, "Help control the pet population. Have your pets spayed or neutered." (The practice has been continued by his successor, Drew Carey.) In 1987, he ended his 20-year tenure as the host of the Miss America Pageant after the pageant's organizers refused to stop awarding furs as prizes. He has donated millions of dollars to eight law schools, including Harvard, to fund programs on animal rights law.
Last year, Barker donated another $1 million to Drury to establish the Drury University Forum on Animal Rights
. Eighteen students enrolled this semester in the first course, Animal Ethics
, taught by McEachern. McEachern told AP that she hopes to add two more courses within the next two years.