The Bryan Opportunity Program has raised more than $1 million to provide scholarships to qualifying Tennessee students to attend Bryan College with tuition costs covered, Vice President of Advancement Blake Hudson has announced.
Bryan Opportunity grant recipient Callie Dawkins, left, who told her story at the 2013 dinner, greets guests following the program. Including gifts received during the sixth annual Bryan Opportunity Dinner April 18, the college has received $1,002,696.73 for the program, he said. Assistance is awarded to Tennessee students with family incomes of less than $35,000 per year to cover any gap between the cost of tuition at Bryan and funding from state or federal sources. High-achieving students also may receive funds to cover the cost of room and board.
“It is gratifying to see the response of friends from the Dayton and Chattanooga area and beyond to this program,” Mr. Hudson said. “From its modest beginnings six years ago the program has grown to the point we are able to assist more than 60 students at Bryan this year.”
This year’s dinner has raised more than $222,000 for the Bryan Opportunity Program, with a number of pledges outstanding. A host committee of some 43 civic and business leaders, chaired by Chuck and Joanne Zeiser of Chattanooga, provided substantial underwriting before the event.
Speaker for the 2013 dinner was Leigh Anne Tuohy, matriarch of the Tuohy family of Memphis, Tenn., portrayed in the book and Oscar-winning movie “The Blind Side.” Previous programs have featured columnists Cal Thomas and Michael Gerson, Lt. Col. Oliver North, Michael Reagan, and vocalists Steve Amerson and Laurie Gayle Stephenson.
“The Bryan Opportunity Program dinner is a highlight of the year for us, and we appreciate the number of alumni and friends who return each year to support this significant program,” Mr. Hudson said. “We have seen the impact a Bryan education makes in the lives of students who attend because of the assistance the program affords, and we are tremendously grateful for the support that makes this program possible.
“Steve Keck, director of gift and estate design, started the first Bryan Opportunity dinner in 2008. We are now able to help more students who qualify for the Opportunity Program thanks to these consistent efforts over the last six years.”