Lowell Bryan '68 gives his parents full credit for driving him to become the best student and the best athlete he could be. His father's sport was baseball, and his mother's was swimming. Bryan wrestled and played football for Davidson, and his daughter attended Davidson and competed in lacrosse. Now, a new $1 million gift will create scholarships for two of the programs near and dear to Bryan's heart—$500,000 for the Lyman L. Bryan Wrestling Scholarship and $500,000 for the Louise Bryan Lacrosse Scholarship, in recognition of the influence and dedication of his parents.
These dollars were given as current-use funds to help both programs recruit leading competitors nationally and internationally.
"When we look at most of our programs compared to our conference competitors, we simply don't have the scholarship dollars," Bryan said. "I want to get us on the path to really try to make progress, at least in two of our sports. The goal is to fully endow these scholarships I've started, so we can work to recruit the very best athletes to Davidson."
Davidson Athletics is in a category of its own, with 25 percent of the student body competing in Division I sports, while sacrificing nothing in the classroom. Athletic Director Chris Clunie '06 acknowledges that any college should be careful to call itself unique—but, when it comes to doing athletics right, Davidson is distinctive.
"Nobody in the country is doing what we do," Clunie said. "Scholarships are undeniably the most important thing to bring the best student athletes—the best students overall—to Davidson. We have to invest on the front end to build our programs."
Last year, the Davidson wrestling program completed a $250,000 matching gift scholarship campaign. Combined with this new support, alumni, parents and friends of the program have brought in $1 million in a little over a year.
"There are no words great enough to express my gratitude for Lowell Bryan's support and generosity," Wrestling Head Coach Andy Lausier said. "This expendable scholarship gift is going to greatly advance the efforts to transform Davidson wrestling into a nationally competitive program. Success on the mat begins with success in recruiting and, thanks to Lowell, we have the resources to win."
Bryan's past support of lacrosse scholarships positioned the program for a very talented freshman class. With continued support, Lacrosse Head Coach Kim Wayne will be able to consistently bring in strong recruiting classes—the critical ingredient for success in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
"Lowell understands that Davidson is an amazing school with so much to offer, but he also understands the importance of scholarships and what this missing piece can do for an athletic program," Wayne said. "Competing against teams like Richmond, a fully funded program with 12 scholarships, puts us at a disadvantage before we even step foot on the field. I am incredibly thankful for Lowell's generosity, competitiveness and determination over the years, and his willingness to help bring the lacrosse and wrestling programs to a higher level."
"It is my feeling, and it was my father's feeling, that if you played a sport at Davidson or if your child played a sport at Davidson, and the sport continues to improve over time, former players are enjoying the reputational advantage of being part of a very successful program," Bryan said. "We need to invest in these programs now."
Bryan's collective giving to Davidson, including a signature scholarship program initiated in 2000 along with ongoing, leadership support of several programs, including Davidson football, is close to $9 million. He retired in 2012 as senior partner of McKinsey & Company and continues to serve as director emeritus. He founded LL Bryan Advisory, a consulting firm, and serves as a member of the Board of Directors for both Tresata and Savory.
Bryan led the effort to create the Touch Foundation and has served as president since its inception in 2004. The non-profit organization works to improve healthcare in Tanzania and addresses the shortage of healthcare workers in Sub-Saharan Africa, among the world's most significant humanitarian crises.
Bryan is a current member of the Davidson College Board of Trustees, the Game Changers: Inspiring Leaders to Transform the World Campaign Committee and the Board of Visitors.
"The college is deeply grateful to Lowell for his vision and ongoing, tremendous generosity around Davidson Athletics, both through this latest gift and through the myriad ways he helps to guide our efforts," said Davidson College President Carol E. Quillen. "The scholar athletes we recruit to Davidson bring with them a love of learning and a love of their sport—and they excel at both. Scholarship support is critical to providing the opportunity of the Davidson experience to them and to expanding the reach of our programs."