Dr. Mary Lynn Bryan was recently honored by the Methodist University Board of Trustees for her long service and dedication to the University. Bryan will officially step down as board chair on July 1 after serving an elected five-year term. She has been a member of the board since 1997.
“The great working relationship between a Board Chair and University President is critical to the success of a University,” said President Ben Hancock. “I feel very fortunate to have developed a strong partnership with Mary Lynn Bryan. Her commitment to the University students and faculty is an inspiration to us all and her legacy can be seen all around. Simply put, Mary Lynn Bryan has made Methodist a better University, and we will always be indebted to her for her many contributions.”
In recognition of Dr. Bryan’s service as chair of Board of Trustees, the trustees have established the Mary Lynn Bryan Endowed Professorship. This new fund not only honors a great leader who has contributed so much to the University, but also demonstrates the trustees’ commitment, and Dr. Bryan’s, to building the University’s endowment to benefit future generations of students and faculty. The Mary Lynn Bryan Endowed Professorship symbolizes this commitment and also recognizes Dr. Bryan’s love of education and her own background in academia as a nationally recognized scholar.
“What an extraordinary gift,” stated Bryan. “I am truly and deeply honored. The heart of any university is its faculty. Methodist University has an excellent faculty, and I respect them for their dedication, competence, and commitment. This endowment in my name helps honor them for the very important work that they do.”
An accomplished scholar, Bryan attended Auburn University, the University of Illinois and University of Chicago before she held a professorship at the University of Illinois in Chicago, where she became the editor of the Jane Addams Papers Project. Her first introduction to Methodist was as a visiting history professor at then Methodist College in the late 1990s.
Bryan has faithfully and diligently served the University in numerous capacities, including serving as the co-chair for the Building Excellence Capital Campaign (2011-2016), which raised a record-breaking $42 million. She has also served on trustee committees including Executive and Finance, Development, Nominations, Academic Affairs, and the Investment Committee. In 1988, she gave the commencement address and received an honorary doctorate degree.
Bryan and her husband Norwood have been tireless advocates for their community. Bryan served on the board of the Cumberland Community Foundation for 20 years, twice serving as their board chair, and has given of her time, talent, and treasure to countless other charitable organizations. The couple was recently honored as the 2017 Distinguished Citizens by the Occoneechee Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Mrs. Bryan also recently received the Realtor Cup from the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, their highest honor. The award is given to the businessperson who has made the most outstanding contribution to the civic, economic, and cultural growth of Fayetteville and Cumberland County.
Board chair-elect Mac Healy said Bryan’s ability to keep the board focused is “amazing.”
“I have watch her lead the Methodist board through many ground-breaking issues,” said Mac Healy, board chair-elect. “She always operated with one thing in mind, the betterment of the University community. Every single member of the Board of Trustees is a better person because of her leadership.”