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Devereux President Emeritus Ronald P. Burd reflects on recent visit to California campus


Ron Burd

Recently, Devereux President Emeritus Ronald P. Burd visited Devereux California to meet with Executive Director Amy Evans, tour the campus and learn about current programs and services.

Recently, Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health President Emeritus Ronald P. Burd visited Devereux California to meet with Executive Director Amy Evans, tour the campus and learn about current programs and services.

Following his visit, Burd wrote a note to Devereux President and CEO Carl E. Clark II, reflecting on the progress that has been made since he first stepped foot on the California campus in 1984. Look below to read Burd’s insightful letter.

“This summer, I took a trip back in time to June 4, 1984. That was my first day serving as president and CEO of Devereux, and I was visiting our California campus in Goleta for Family Day, an annual event that brought parents and siblings together with their loved ones served by Devereux and staff.

Devereux California was established by Helena T. Devereux in 1945 in response to families who felt the programs for children in Pennsylvania were ‘too far away’ to meet their needs. Our California families always had a significant voice in the programming and direction for the center. In fact, Miss Devereux established the California Auxiliary Board as a companion to the National Board of Trustees to underscore their importance. The California programs I visited that sunny day in 1984 were entirely campus-based offerings. There was a school for children, as well as residential and vocational programs for both children and adults. At that time, all of our vocational opportunities were provided on campus. Our off-campus programs – Supported Living Services and Independent Living Services – were yet to be developed.

Over the past four decades, Devereux has grown, with active advancement into the communities surrounding our residential campuses, and with the expansion of outpatient and in-school programs. These changes have resulted in increased self-esteem and self-efficacy for those in our care.

When my wife, Joyce, and I visited the California campus in August, I saw an individual I knew as a young man, whose father had been an active leader on the California Board. He was enjoying his surroundings and the support he has received from Devereux team members over the years. While I was struck by how much had changed, I was reminded of what hasn’t changed – the dedication and commitment of our remarkable staff who instill hope and confidence in those we serve.

When my wife and I left, the nostalgia I felt faded into a smile, brought on by two realities of the present. The first was seeing Amy Evans, who I remember as a young ‘leader with potential,’ now in the role of executive director. She graciously took us around campus and described the current programs. And second, learning the community-based programs in Santa Barbara are serving more individuals than we do on campus, showed me that Devereux is still vital and growing after all of these years.”

A lasting legacy

Burd served as president and CEO of Devereux from 1984 to 2004. In 2005, Devereux’s National Board of Trustees established the Ronald P. Burd 21st Century Fund for Excellence and Innovation. The Fund was created to strengthen the quality of the organization’s existing programs and promote the development of program innovations and enhancements. Read a previous news article on how the Fund has supported Devereux’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion organizational transformation.

Learn more about Devereux California, and learn more about Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health.


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