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Inspire Leadership: Lamar Bryant

Lamar Bryant joined the Office of the Dean of Students in January but has been making his mark in sorority and fraternity life for several years. So much so, that he recently had an award named after him.

Lamar Bryant, Associate Dean of Students

Lamar Bryant may be new to UT, but in sorority and fraternity life, he is a seasoned professional and a key player to uniting the Multicultural Greek Councils (MGC) and the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) with the Interfraternity Council (IFC) and the National Panhellenic Council (NPC). He was such an influential part of this process that at this year’s inaugural Southeastern Greek Leadership Association (SGLA) Annual Conference, Lamar learned he had an award named after him: The Lamar Bryant National Pan-Hellenic Council of the Year Award.

“Each year during the SGLA awards banquet, one council from each of the following four umbrella councils, NPHC, NPC, MGC & IFC, will be recognized as Councils of the Year. Being named Council of the Year means the council is the best of the best at their respective institutions. The awards were created to honor the councils who go above and beyond to represent excellence and to represent what it means to be a part of our Fraternal organizations. Furthermore, the councils who win those awards are comprised of undergraduate fraternity men and sorority women who do their best to exemplify what it means to be a member of their fraternal affiliations by holding the tenants and ideals of their respective organizations near and dear to their hearts.”

Lamar Bryant with the first recipients of the Lamar Bryant National Pan-Hellenic Council of the Year Award.

The new associate dean not only had the privilege of having an award named after him but the opportunity to present the award to Jacksonville State University’s NPHC council. “It was a really special night and it definitely caught me off guard. I don’t consider myself to be an emotional guy, but I did shed a little tear. I’m not going to sit here and act like I didn’t” Lamar says, with a laugh. “I hadn’t really taken the time to reflect on what I’ve accomplished and what I’ve been able to do thus far in my career. Receiving this honor made me sit there and say ‘wow. Being fully present in that special moment was actually quite reinvigorating. It gave me even more motivation to continue living out my purpose through my work in higher education, and to continue striving to be my best self every day, not just for myself, but for the people I have the honor to work alongside as well.” The award allowed Lamar the opportunity to be reminded of how important the work he does is to students.

He says he thinks the reason he was emotion was because of the passion he puts into the work. “I do this work because I genuinely care. I do it because I truly believe that when done right, the fraternity and sorority life experience is one of the premier student development experiences on any college campus. I honestly believe that because of the way my own fraternal experience has impacted my life, and over the years, I have had the privilege of seeing it positively impact so many of my students’ lives as well.”

Lamar is a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., the first intercollegiate Black Greek-letter organization founded on December 4, 1906, at Cornell University. He says he was drawn to the organization because of its values and tenants, and the passion he expressed towards his membership in Alpha Phi Alpha provides insight into how he views Greek organizations. “As I thought about the person I wanted to be and how I saw myself living my life, there was a direct correlation to my fraternity. It was important for me to know that I could be who I was created to be, even after I became a fraternity man. Ultimately, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. enhanced the things that were already important to me, and that personal alignment is something I really appreciate. You’ll never hear me say ‘I was an Alpha.’ I am an Alpha… I still hold my fraternal oath in high regard because  I accepted a lifelong commitment, and I take that commitment very seriously.” He wants to continue to help affiliated students realize the importance of their organization’s values and help them stay true to those values, though he may not be serving them directly in his current role on Rocky Top.

Lamar recently transitioned off of the SGLA board at the end of the 2020 Annual Conference, but that doesn’t mean he’s planning to stop serving the sorority and fraternity community anytime soon. “I still feel like I have a lot of years left in me. I am excited to have the honor of helping present the NPHC Council of the Year Award to deserving students each year at the SGLA awards banquet, and I hope that I can stay in this profession and continue to make valuable contributions for a really long time.” He wants to continue to make an impact on the sorority and fraternity community and help them realize their full potential. “I want to continue helping them understand what it means to live their ritual; more specifically, I want to help affiliated students understand both the privilege and responsibility that comes with membership in their respective fraternal organizations.”

It’s clear that Lamar will always have the drive to serve students and he wants to help make each organization he encounters as strong as it can be. He’s a servant leader who wants everyone to have a place at the table. Likewise, he’s dedicated to the university and will work alongside our leaders and students to ensure that we are fulfilling our mission.

April 14, 2020