When pressed for recollections about his time as a student at Amarillo College back in the 1960s, Ron Boyd, who deals in the finest jewelry as principal owner of Duncan and Boyd Jewelers, implausibly but immediately recollects a modest $10 act of kindness.
Voting for Class Favorites was ongoing at the time, and the winners would be those nominees whose individually labeled jars contained the most money at week’s end. A science teacher, noticing that Boyd’s forlorn jar revealed an embarrassing lack of support, got $10 worth of coins and dropped them in.
“He didn’t have to do that,” Boyd said. “That’s just how our teachers were at Amarillo College. I don’t remember a teacher that didn’t inspire us all the time, even putting their own money in a jar so we didn’t look bad. All they ever wanted was to see us succeed.”
If that is so, Boyd, has granted his faculty mentors their every wish by being a successful student, businessman and community advocate. And while he was not voted Most Popular as a student, that slight was emphatically corrected in the spring of 2015 when AC named Boyd its Distinguished Alumnus.
“I was shocked and humbled by this recognition. Flabbergasted might be a better word,” said Boyd, who attended AC on a partial tennis scholarship from 1962 to 1964. “I expect an honor like this to go the scholarly and smart, so I thought, ‘why me?’”
That’s a question easily answered by even the briefest glance at an abbreviated résumé of the man who in 2015 completed a second term on the Amarillo City Council.
Boyd has been chairman of the Amarillo Area Foundation and president of the Golden Spread Council for the Boy Scouts of America. Also president of Center City of Amarillo, Boyd has served on boards for the Don and Sybil Harrington Foundation, Panhandle PBS and various other non-profit organizations. In 1994, he was campaign co-chair for United Way, and in 2009 he was named the Amarillo Globe-News Man of the Year.
“Ron is the quintessential AC success story,” AC President Russell Lowery-Hart said. “This College was an important part of shaping his journey. He has had an important role in shaping our community. He is an inspiration for us all.”
After graduating from AC, Boyd transferred his credits to West Texas State University and completed a bachelor’s degree. He went on to become a certified gemologist appraiser, the most prestigious title bestowed by the American Gem Society, and he has more than 40 years of gemological experience.
It’s a journey Boyd began—as a mere diamond in the rough—at Amarillo College.
“AC helped prepare me for the university that I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to handle,” he said. “AC was affordable, you knew everybody and the teachers were the best. It’s still that way, just a top-notch school where you receive a great education.”