In Memoriam

Devoted alumnus David Taylor

The Anthropology department pays tribute to the memory of David Lloyd Taylor, who died suddenly on August 2, 2021, at 85 years old. David was a longtime friend of the department and gave generously of his time, talent, and resources.

Bea and David Taylor hold a banner that reads "Happy 50th Anniversary, David & Bea" with balloons in the background.
Bea & David Taylor celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary in June 2019.

In 2006, David and his wife, Bea, established the Bob Ackerman Endowed Graduate Fellowship Fund to support anthropology students with research projects in areas that are not currently funded. Since then, distributions from the Ackerman Fellowship Fund have assisted graduate students by providing stipends to cover tuition and fees, research expenses, and other education-related costs.

As graduate students in Anthropology in the 1960’s, David and Bea worked closely with Professor Ackerman, and it was on a research trip with him in 1966 that the couple met and developed a love not only for fieldwork but also for each other. They were married three years later.

Per the Taylors: “Dr. Ackerman gave us the opportunity to do fieldwork in Alaska, and we treasure those experiences. The Anthropology department gave us financial assistance which allowed us to pursue our graduate studies. We wanted to give back, so we created and funded the endowment in Dr. Ackerman’s honor.”

Through the years, the Taylors enjoyed staying connected to the Anthropology department via the lecture series and relationships they maintained with various faculty, the chair, and other alumni.

“David and Bea’s 50+ year engagement with anthropology and their friendship with the Ackermans is strong testament to the power of participating in anthropological fieldwork and research—and their history together is a great story!” said Andrew Duff, department chair.

Both David and Bea were pleased that they had provided funding for research and that work throughout the department provided new insights in archaeology and anthropology, Bea said. Supporting WSU and the Department of Anthropology was a highlight of David’s philanthropic giving, she said. “He was so pleased to see the expansion of graduate programs over the years.”

Bea understands the importance of philanthropy, especially in higher education today, and encourages others to give back by donating so more students can benefit. If you would like to learn more about ways to support Anthropology at WSU, please visit our secure giving page or contact the College of Arts and Sciences Development team at 509-335-1096 or