The globetrotting Colonial Couple have toured 33 countries and launched a study abroad scholarship fund for RMU students.
Anyone who thinks accountants lead unexciting lives has never met Bill ’75 and Beth Shinaberry Buck ‘76. The pair have been on safari in Kenya and Tanzania, cruised the Baltic Sea, and will soon add Australia and Fiji to the nearly three dozen countries they have visited together.
At home in Columbia, Md., Bill divides his time between gardening and tending to the fish in the ornamental pond he built and tinkering on his 1952 replica MG kit car. That project is usually in the garage, though parts of it can sometimes make their way to the dining room table. Beth takes classes in modern and jazz dancing and is also the Colonial Couple’s main travel planner.
“It’s funny, people think accountants sit in closets all day and use adding machines,” she says. “I’ve even had multiple people tell me, ‘I like people. I could never be an accountant.’ But at the upper levels that’s all you do is talk to people and solve business problems.”
She should know, after an impressive career that has included CFO stints at a software company, a venture capital fund, and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. In recent years she has turned her focus to running two family businesses in Beaver County started by her father, who passed away in 2019. Bill’s own successful career spanned from Legg Mason and KPMG to Ryan Homes and Resources Global Professionals, an international finance and accounting consulting firm.
They met at the first dance of the fall semester, when they were both recent transfers to the Moon campus. Bill, an Air Force veteran, had started taking classes in Alaska while stationed there stocking airplanes with compressed liquid oxygen. Now he was back home in Pittsburgh finishing his studies. Beth, who had just switched over from Slippery Rock, spotted him asking a woman to dance. That young lady fortunately chose another suitor, so Beth made a beeline for Bill, and soon the two were dancing. They got married in 1977, the year after she graduated.
Though her father never went to college, both of Beth’s parents prized education. Three decades ago they founded a scholarship that annually pays the tuition of one West Virginia woman who will be the first in her family to attend college. Inspired by that example, the Bucks recently established the Buck International Travel Endowed Scholarship at RMU to support students who wish to study abroad.
“The world is a global economy,” Beth says. “I think younger people should really make an effort to learn another language, get out of their own neighborhood, and see what it’s like in other parts in the world.”