Who is the Bryan family?

Bryan Hall, Bryan Jr. Auditorium, Bryan Boulevard, Bryan Park ­— the name is everywhere, but who exactly is Bryan?

Joseph M. Bryan Jr. of the well-known Bryan family is a Guilford College alumnus ‘61 and has stuck with the school ever since. He is chair of the board of trustees and has served on the board since 1973.

“Joseph M. Bryan Jr.’s dedication to Guilford College is immeasurable,” said Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Aaron Fetrow. “He serves as an advocate, major donor, board chair and proud alum. It really is difficult to articulate Joe’s impact on the college.”

Bryan Jr. and the Bryan family have a long history with Guilford and are recognized for their philanthropy and continuous devotion.

As chair of Guilford’s Advancing Excellence campaign, Bryan Jr. has given over $3.5 million to the campaign in support of the popular lecture series the Bryan Series, which he established in 1994.

The college has received over $9 million in donations from Bryan Jr. in total.

Although Bryan Jr. is strongly connected to Guilford, he is not limited to helping Guilford College. For years, Bryan Jr. has been giving to institutions all over Greensboro and beyond.

“Joseph M. Bryan Jr.’s generosity has enabled Guilford to present for its students, as well as the greater community, a marvelous opportunity to engage with people who have changed the world,”  said President and Professor of Political Science Kent Chabotar.

Joseph M. Bryan Jr.’s generosity runs in the family, as his father, Joseph M. Bryan Sr., received national recognition for his philanthropy. The Bryan Family Foundation was established in 1955 in his honor.

Bryan Sr. valued education and helped numerous schools across North Carolina including Duke University, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro College, Guilford College and many more.

The charitable organization The Joseph M. Bryan Foundation was created in 1984 by Bryan Sr. in order to invest money into the community. After his death in 1995, the board Bryan Sr. hand selected with the addition of a sixth member, now continues Bryan Sr.’s work, spending $5 million or more annually.

According to The Business Journal, one of the five board members and former Greensboro Mayor Jim Melvin said that the priorities Bryan Sr. gave the board were to invest the money back into the Greensboro, in order to promote economic, cultural and recreational enrichment, with a special interest in Bryan Park.

So, the next time you are in Bryan Park to play some golf or soccer or to simply enjoy the scenery, remember the industrious effort Bryan Sr. and his wife Kathleen put into developing this recreation center. It was Bryan Sr.’s favorite spot.

Bryan Sr. once said, “When it comes to giving, man must tip his hat to nature. She gives joy, beauty and hope — and excludes no one.”