Honoring Two who Inspired a Dream

Photo of Thomas Bryan

Thomas Bryan (center)

Tributes to loved ones take on forms as varied as the people who inspire them.

For Tom Bryan, ’77, finding a way to honor his father and uncle was about more than just making sure the two men weren’t forgotten. It was about making sure the two were known.

“They were both incredibly influential on my life,” Bryan said. “My dad was a World War II veteran; he was a member of the Greatest Generation. He was a very hard worker, and he passed along that work ethic to me.

“Dad’s younger brother, my uncle Bill, gave me the confidence to go into business and to believe in myself to try new things,” Bryan said. “That’s the whole theory of finance. You have to take risks to build something, to start something, and you can fail.”

Thomas Bryan talks with two people at a recent campus event

Thomas Bryan (left) and Dan Jenski, director/writer of the film “ADDicted,” screened on campus in March, talk with Jennifer Bott, the first Bryan Dean of the Miller College of Business.

But those gifts of courage and trust that fueled Bryan paved the way for the Bryan Dean of the Miller College of Business. The naming of this deanship is in recognition of a $3 million gift from Tom Bryan, who also supports an endowed scholarship in memory of Frank T. Bryan, ’49, and William R. Bryan, ’54.

“Tom’s gift will transform the college … to better prepare our students to succeed, as he has,” said Jennifer Bott, the Bryan Dean of the Miller College of Business.

“If it wasn’t for Ball State giving me the opportunity to redeem my poor high school academic background, I wouldn’t have been able to graduate from college and go on to get my masters in finance. I have failed from time to time, but I learned how to try,” he said. “Luckily I’ve been blessed with the ability to do something I’m passionate about, and when you’re passionate about the work you do, it’s not work.”