October 29, 2004

Bryson wins distinguished service award

by K.C. Jaehnig

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Seymour Bryson, Southern Illinois University Carbondale associate chancellor for diversity, received the Illinois Committee on Black Concerns in Higher Education's Distinguished Service Award Thursday, Oct. 21, in Chicago during the group's annual conference.

"This award also reflects on the University because it has provided me with the opportunity and support to be able to provide leadership statewide.""Anytime one can be recognized by one's peers, it's very special," Bryson said. "It means a lot because it comes from my colleagues from around the state, who have indicated that they were appreciative of my efforts.

The black concerns committee, made up of administrators, faculty, staff and students from colleges and universities throughout the state, works to improve educational and employment opportunities for Illinois' African-American residents. It stresses the importance in higher education of achieving a mix of students, faculty and staff that closely mirrors the racial diversity within the state.

The group's service award goes annually to a member of its steering committee for outstanding contributions and leadership both locally and statewide. This is the second time Bryson has won the award.

"It means a little bit more the second time because it's a recognition of my overall contribution - - that they felt it was continuous and not something that stopped once I won," he said.

In addition to his duties as associate chancellor, Bryson oversees SIUC's Center for Basic Skills, its Head Start programs and other programs directly related to diversity and equity. Over the course of his 35-year career at the University, he also has served as affirmative action director, dean of the now-defunct College of Human Resources and a professor with SIUC's Rehabilitation Institute. He is a three-degree graduate of SIUC, earning his bachelor's in 1959, his master's in 1961 and his doctorate in 1972.