JSU Grad Makes Gift to Fund Scholarship
As a student at Jacksonville State University, Derrick Bryant vowed to make the most of his higher education experience. A first-generation student from Birmingham, he immersed himself in his studies and became involved in the varied extracurricular opportunities for which the University is well known. Interestingly, as a result of Derrick pursuing a college education at JSU, his two sisters—Rosalie J. Bryant ’92 and Zephia M. Bryant ’96—followed in his footsteps to complete their degrees at JSU.
“As an on-campus dormitory resident, in addition to my academics in the College of Criminal Justice, I was an active participant in JSU football, student government, Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC), the work study program, Army Reserves, and in the JSU drama department,” Derrick says.
Upon graduation, his professional career began as a commissioned officer in the U.S. military, a passion he says that was developed in JSU ROTC.
While serving in our nation’s capital beltway, he became involved as vice president, and later president, of the Greater Washington D.C. Alumni Association where he met other graduates who he says were, “very professional, accomplished, and very prideful of their experiences at JSU.”
He credits returning to JSU annually to attend homecoming activities with helping to influence his decision to establish an endowed scholarship fund.
“I saw other successful alumni who I spent time with on campus as an undergraduate and it always reenergized my pride in JSU,” he says. “Now that I’ve been retired from the military for eight years and settled in a second career, I just felt the time was right.”
“I decided to give back to the institution that poured so much into me, and allowed me to find my passion in military leadership and developing interpersonal relationships,” Derrick says. “By establishing an endowed scholarship at the University, I want to assist young people from Birmingham find their passion for life at JSU, just as I did 34 years ago.”
Earl Warren, JSU director of University development, says of Derrick’s scholarship gift, “This is especially gratifying to me. Derrick and I have been friends since we met on campus in the 1980s. I knew then that this intelligent, dedicated individual would become successful. Now he is paying it forward to the JSU students of the future.”