Money is just like Manure

Richard Bernhard, ISE professor emeritus, has a long history of contributing to NC State and the ISE department. He truly cares about the people he helps impact. “From the pen of Thornton Wilder in ‘Hello Dolly’ and elsewhere: ‘Money is just like manure. It doesn’t do any good unless it’s spread around helping little things to grow!'” explained Bernhard. With this philosophy in mind, a new endowment has been created to ensure that students will have scholarships and other monetary needs met for decades.

In the Spring of 1986, Berhard’s father, Harold Berhard, gave him $20,000 of stock in what was then called Carolina Power and Light Company. “I just left that stock intact, reinvesting all the dividends and never taking anything out for myself,” Bernhard reflected. “The company thrived, changed its name and merged several times till as of mid-2021 it was for me about $200,000 worth of Duke Energy stock.” 

In 2021, Bernhard donated about half of this stock to the Cornell University Hotel School in memory of his brother, Robert, a 1962 graduate of the school. This donation formed the Robert Bruce Bernhard Memorial Endowment, which the Dean of the Hotel School uses for annual scholarships and other monetary needs.

So when ISE Director of Development and good friend Wanda Urbanska shared with Bernhard a several-year plan for building a permanent endowment for the ISE Department, it reminded him of the donation he made to the Cornell University Hotel School. “That triggered in me what I think is the much simpler idea of giving the rest of my Duke Energy stock, valued at over $100,000, to NC State ISE,” Bernhard said. This donation will achieve the same results as the gift to Cornell. It also shows Bernhard’s appreciation for a department that has been a central part of his and his family’s life for the past 50 years.

Calling all “Good Guys”

Bernhard is not someone who does things simply for a compliment. “A major intent of your article should not only be to tell the world that Dick Bernhard is a ‘good guy,’ but also that they too can be ‘good guys’ by donating to NC state ISE,” he said. Donating time, skills or funds help the ISE program’s current and future students, faculty and staff achieve excellence. Donations to the Department can be made at, and non-financial gifts can be made at 

More on Bernhard at NC State

Bernhard has provided philanthropy over decades across NC State, including the College of Engineering, Division of Academic and Student Affairs, and the libraries. He previously created library endowments in his three children’s names to honor their passions and success in their respective fields. He also named group study rooms in Hunt Library in honor of his late wife, Cynthia Petersen Bernhard, and recognition of his friend and colleague, James R. Wilson IV. Bernhard has created the ISE Enhancement Endowment to leave a legacy to the department where he has served for over half a century.