Robert “Harry” Bishop (’53) came to North Texas, knowing the value of hard work. Growing up on his family’s farm near Krum, he learned a work ethic and the importance of earning an education.
Harry’s mother, Margaret Miller Bishop, attended North Texas in the 1920s, along with her sister, Eurice Miller Bass (’31), and her brother, Claude Miller (’41), who met his wife, Helen S. Miller (’40).
As the second generation of his family to attend, Harry continued a tradition for the Bishops that would eventually span seven decades, with 12 family members connected to North Texas between the 1920s and 1986.
“It was the school we knew about,” he says. “My mother, aunts and uncles had all gone to North Texas and encouraged me to go. I could live at home and commute, and tuition was affordable at $40 a semester.”
The family’s legacy was honored in September, when they received the Generations of Excellence award for their loyalty and service.
Harry is proud to say that he worked his way through school, helping his dad work their cattle and livestock and harvesting wheat in the summers. He adds that his professors encouraged him to finish his degree.
Harry majored in business administration and management. But he put his studies on hold in 1948 to serve in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. After returning to finish his degree, he landed his first job in West Texas for Sun Oil.
From there, he worked for Texaco and then Samedan Oil Corp., before launching his own company in 1974, Bishop Petroleum Inc., in Houston.
At North Texas, Harry met and married Barbara Bishop (’52). He remembers attending basketball games and going to campus movies on Saturday nights. They had two daughters, one who continued the legacy. Mary Margaret “Maggie” Bishop Kirkpatrick (’84) studied art education at UNT. While living in Clark Hall, she met her future husband, Robert Kirkpatrick (’86). Like her dad, he was a business student, majoring in production and operations management. Robert also works in the oil business in Houston.
“I came to UNT for the well-known art department,” Maggie says.
Maggie and Robert, avid Mean Green fans, come back to campus regularly for football and basketball games.
“There are five couples from Clark Hall who we still get together with regularly,” Maggie says.
Robert is proud to be part of the legacy.
“The history is very special,” he says.
Harry is a member of UNT’s President’s Council. He supports the university’s Emerald Ball, which generates support for UNT’s Emerald Eagle Scholars program, helping academically talented students with financial need go to college.
He also established an endowment to fund scholarships for the men’s basketball team.
“It’s very simple. I have made a living for myself, and through UNT’s training, I became an entrepreneur,” Harry says. “North Texas gave me and my family the care and the education.”