Skip to main content

Priscilla P. Hurd

  • First Woman to Chair the Board of Trustees

Priscilla Payne Hurd (1919-2013):

Priscilla P. Hurd

Priscilla Payne Hurd was a well-known figure on Moravian's campus. Whether interacting with students or conferring with fellow trustees, she exemplified the credo she wrote four decades ago: "No one is greater than the service he renders the world."

In 1935, Mrs. Hurd graduated from the Madeira School, a private boarding school for girls, located in the outskirts of Washington, DC. She is a 1942 graduate of Finch College and the University of Chicago. Her interests led her to the New York School of Radio Technique, from which she graduated in 1943. In the 1950s Mrs. Hurd produced and directed a weekly radio show, "UN Calling You," from Lehigh University. In addition to her work in radio, she was a columnist for the Bloomington Indiana Tribune.

Mrs. Hurd's lifelong devotion to learning was demonstrated in her steadfast service as a member of Moravian College's Board of Trustees since her appointment in 1974. In 1999 she became the first woman chair in Moravian's history. Her support benefited the institution as a whole; and in particular, the Hurd Center for Music and Art, and the prestigious Comenius Scholarships.

Mrs. Hurd's commitment to service extended well beyond the Moravian campus. She was a Trustee at St. Luke's Hospital, and served as the board's first woman chair. Additionally, she was a Trustee of the Association of American Museums, a Trustee for the Frank E. Payne and Seba B. Payne Foundation, and a member of Historic Bethlehem, Inc. Mrs. Hurd was the Lehigh Valley's most generous philanthropist.

For her tireless work, Mrs. Hurd was lauded with honorary degrees from Moravian College and from Allentown College of St. Francis de Sales. Named an Eminent Fellow of American Biographical Institute in 1993, she had a keen interest in biographies. When time allowed, she indulged a passion for needlepoint and unusual music boxes, and her love of travel. Mrs. Hurd was the parent of two children and had one granddaughter. 

The Hurd Center:

The Hurd Center

The Hurd Center for Music and Art encompasses Foy Concert Hall, Payne Art Gallery, South Hall, the 1867 Chapel, West Hall, and the Single Brethren's House (built in 1748). The Payne Art Gallery is located in the 1903 gymnasium building of the former women's college, renovated as a contemporary, two-level gallery and dedicated in 1982. The Payne Gallery features both a permanent collection and changing exhibits, and is open to the public.

Priscilla Payne Hurd Academic Complex (PPHAC):

Priscilla Payne Hurd Academic Complex (PPHAC)

The building, spanning 55,000 square feet on three levels, houses four departments, fifteen classrooms, laboratories, research facilities, and lecture rooms.