More than 230 alumni and friends of Bryan College attended the seventh annual Bryan Opportunity Program Dinner at the Chattanooga Convention Center, hosted by the college and Host Committee Co-Chairs Rear Admiral Vance H. and Charlynne H. Fry, to raise funds for scholarships for low-income Tennessee students.
Political commentator, best-selling author, and ESPN co-founder Scott Rasmussen was the featured guest at the event. He spoke encouragement and optimism regarding the future of the U.S., saying that national change always begins where it always has – with the people. Praising the Opportunity Program Dinner attendees for their support of worthy students who would not be able to attend Bryan if not for the scholarship, Mr. Rasmussen said that the opportunity donors are giving students has the potential to change the direction of the nation.
He told his audience, “You have come to a dinner tonight so that you can give away [money] to help some young students. That’s a great thing. And even better, you’re giving it away so that those students can get an education; arm them with the love of Christ, and then send them out into the world to do that altruistic work that needs to be done.”
Also speaking at the program were graduating seniors Mark Mercier (via video) and Chloe Pool, both recipients of Bryan Opportunity Program funds. Ms. Pool shared in her testimony that she “never dreamed of coming to Bryan,” and that she has “a love for Bryan that is not simply tied to academic excellence, but more than that – I have seen my own life and the lives of so many precious friends changed on Bryan Hill.”
Mr. Mercier also shared his gratitude with the attendees, saying that he and other students “have been blessed tremendously by gifts that people like you have given.”
Since the program’s inception in 2008, more than $1,300,000 has been raised to make a Bryan education a possibility for 159 students whose total annual family income is less than $35,000. During this academic year, 67 students are recipients of the Bryan Opportunity Program Scholarship. The generosity of the donors at the dinner will make a Christ-centered college experience possible for students in the 2014-2015 academic year.
Vice President of Advancement Blake Hudson, remarked, “We're very pleased that more than $243,000 has been pledged or given, and we anticipate gifts in the coming weeks will make this the highest grossing BOP dinner in our seven years."
Additional gifts may be made on the Bryan College website or by contacting Tracey Bridwell at 775-7323.