A friend of a friend-Al Bryant Jr. – Travis Bryant-May 5

One thing I have learned is that good friends have other good friends. This is a series of stories about “friends of my friends”. The post below is the story for May 5, 2015.

My goal in 2015 is to learn or get re-acquainted with 365 people and doing a daily post on the “the friend of a friend” is helping me get closer to my goal.

I am always impressed with the influence that some parents have on their children. I have come across some amazing families that have raised some great leaders. In our own community we have many but one family that I encounter almost daily in my job is the family of Alfred Sr. and Mary Jane Bryant of Pembroke, NC. Alfred and Mary Jane have four sons that all are pillars in the Town of Pembroke and on the campus of UNC Pembroke.

Alfred Bryant Sr. is firm disciplinarian that raised four sons to appreciate hard work, loyalty, and discipline. He was born in McColl, SC and came to work on the farm of Murphy Locklear in Pembroke, NC until he got smitten with a very intelligent and talented lady named Mary Jane Locklear. The two of them were married. Alfred had careers with Converse, Pate’s Supply, and Johns Manville.

Mary Jane Bryant is a retired educator who has influenced many in the Pembroke community. She is still active in her church Mt. Airy Baptist church and is a beautiful singer. Her career as an educator had her working at Magnolia, Pembroke High School (today located next to UNC Pembroke), the new Pembroke Sr. HS located on Deep Branch Rd, and the merged high school called West Robeson (today its name is Purnell Swett HS). She had the rare distinction of teaching in three separate buildings that children from Pembroke went to high school at.

Mary Jane’s influence resulted in all four of her sons Kim, Alfred Jr.,Travis,and Marcus to be college graduates. Today Kim, Alfred, and Travis all live near her and her husband.

Photo below of Mary Jane Bryant with her son Travis.

Mary Jane Bryant

In my job as Chief of Staff for UNC Pembroke I get to work alongside a man I consider a friend our Associate Vice Chancellor for Campus Safety –Travis Bryant. Travis is a tremendous leader with a great background for the important position he holds at UNC Pembroke. Prior to coming back to UNCP in 2011 he was at Fayetteville State University as associate vice chancellor for police and public safety.

Travis, is a 1992 UNCP graduate, has 24 years of experience with municipal and higher education law enforcement. He teaches criminal justice courses at Robeson Community College (RCC) and provides firearms training to local law enforcement agencies.

I first got to know Travis when he was a police officer at UNCP for five years before serving as police chief for the Town of Pembroke. He then became director of the Basic Law Enforcement Training and Criminal Justice program at RCC. In 2008, he joined Fayetteville State and came back home in 2011. Travis has also completed his master degree in Criminal Justice.

Travis and I have spent a lot of time together on the phone early in the mornings discussing winter weather and the impact it might have on our campus. When my phone rings at 5:30 AM on a winter morning my wife asked me who I am talking to and I respond by telling her it is “Jake from State Farm”.

Travis is not the only leader in the Bryant family. His other three brothers all shine as leaders also. One of Travis’s three brothers is named Alfred and he also works for UNC Pembroke.

The Friend-TRAVIS BRYANT with his wife Teresa Bryant

Travis Bryant

The Friend of the Friend-AL BRYANT Jr.


The Bryant Family

The Bryant family epitomizes a lot of the core values that they had instilled in them by their parents. They all know how to work hard, they all appreciate and stress the importance of education, and they place a high priority on family.

Al Bryant is actually Dr. Alfred Bryant Jr. and he began his career in education as a high school counselor and also worked with UNCP’s Freshman Seminar program and NC State University’s First Year Experience. I got to meet him with his first job at UNCP which was as director of the Youth Opportunity Program, a program at UNCP’s Regional Center.

He earned a Ph.D. in counselor education from NC State. He is a tenured full professor at UNCP and teaches courses in the School and Mental Health Counseling Programs. In 2009 Al was named an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow for 2008-09. Founded in 1965, the ACE Fellows program was established to strengthen institutions and leadership in higher education by identifying promising senior faculty and administrators and preparing them for key positions in university administration. Former UNC President Molly Board is president of ACE.

Al has done much since arriving at UNCP in 2001 and in addition to he being a faculty member and associate dean of the School of Education, since 2013 he has been serving as the founding director of UNC Pembroke’s new Southeast American Indian Studies (SAIS) program. The Southeast American Indian Studies program was launched by Chancellor Kyle R. Carter in 2012. The goal is for SAIS to become a signature academic program capitalizing on existing university resources and its location in Pembroke.

Alfred is an experienced grant writer and has performed research on a wide spectrum of American Indian populations. In addition to his talents he also is a regular exerciser and has an eclectic group of people he routinely runs with at lunch that include UNC Pembroke Basketball Coach Ben Miller.

Alfred Bryant Sr. and Mary Jane Bryant have a lot to be proud of.


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