Bryant University kicked off the new year with a meeting of the Parents Leadership Council in a well-attended virtual event that featured several break-out sessions and the latest news about Bryant’s spring semester reopening. The Parents Leadership Council is a volunteer advocacy group that engages with Bryant leadership and provides generous philanthropic support to the University. Members are able to share their ideas and concerns directly with Bryant administrators in an effort to enhance the educational experience for all students, while learning more about specific initiatives at Bryant.
Jeff Fryer ’91, P ’19, P’ 22 notes “It’s a great way to have a relationship between the administration and the parents, to be able to share perspectives and views and have a dialogue. It’s also an opportunity to peek behind the curtain and understand a little more about what’s going on at the University.”
At a time when many institutions are scaling back their programs, Bryant is finding new and innovative ways to support academic excellence and student life.
The 25 families who make up this year’s Leadership Council are encouraged to partner with Bryant in their areas of interest and expertise, including hosting networking events and welcome calls, speaking to a class or club, engaging with other parents, and offering support to the Amica Center for Career Education through mentoring and internship opportunities.
The January meeting included program updates from Dr. Inge-Lise Ameer, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, who expressed gratitude to Council members and shared information about student life, campus activities, and the ongoing institution-wide commitment to the health and safety of students. Calling the COVID-19 pandemic “the greatest challenge I’ve faced in my professional life,” she credits the hard work of Bryant students and the coordinated efforts of the Be Bryant Strong campaign for Bryant’s recent success as the only Rhode Island school to finish the year with in-person learning. “I am so proud of what they’ve accomplished,” she said.
Members participated in several breakout sessions, meeting staff from Counseling, the Academic Center for Excellence, Intramurals and Recreation, Nutrition Counseling, and the Amica Center for Career Education.
The success of the Leadership Council has also been reflected in an increase in parent giving to Bryant, with contributions from parents up by more than 37% over last year. Many parents, like Council Co-Chairs Carl and Carolyn Bennett P’21 are grateful for how Bryant has handled the challenges of the past year and praise the Council as an invaluable resource to Bryant families.
“The Council has deepened our involvement with our son Daniel’s campus experience, and we are proud to be strong advocates for Bryant students,” Carolyn said. “At a time when many institutions are scaling back their programs, Bryant is finding new and innovative ways to support academic excellence and student life.”
Academics will be the focus of the next Parents Leadership Council meeting, when members will be able to speak with Provost Glenn Sulmasy, J.D., L.L.M, Bryant’s Chief Academic Officer.
New Council Member Janet Emmons P’24 is looking forward to the conversation. “The collaborative nature of the Parents Council, coupled with the interaction of the administrative team, provides support, ‘real-time’ feedback, and growth opportunities for all,” she said. “I am very pleased to be able to be a part of the Bryant Community in this way.”
Membership in the Bryant Parents Council is open to parents who make an annual contribution of $2,500 or more to Bryant. Support can be directed to the Bryant Parents Fund or any academic, athletics, or extracurricular program that is especially meaningful to a student and their family.