01/24/12 — Board donates $500,000 to Mount Olive College in honor of Bryan

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Board donates $500,000 to Mount Olive College in honor of Bryan

By Kelly Corbett
Published in News on January 24, 2012 1:46 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- The Southern Bank Foundation has donated $500,000 to Mount Olive College in memory of Byron Bryan, former bank board member and college trustee.

The gift came after a request for funding assistance from Mount Olive College, according to a press release issued by the foundation Monday.

"Mr. Bryan shared in Southern Bank's commitment to education, as well as a belief in investing one's time and talents for the betterment of the community," said J. Grey Morgan, chairman and chief executive of Southern Bank and Trust in a press release. "Mount Olive College's legacy of excellence in education and service to the Mount Olive community is well-known. As such, we view this contribution as an investment in the future of both Mount Olive College and the Mount Olive community, two cornerstones of Mr. Bryan's legacy of service to our community."

Bryan's family said he would have been honored to have been associated with such a gift.

"My father was proud of all things Mount Olive -- the town, Southern Bank, Mount Olive College and other businesses and activities around Mount Olive," said Bill Bryan, Byron Bryan's son.

The donation will be provided to the college in installments over a five-year period, with the first payment made in September 2011. The money will go toward operational support as part of the college's capital campaign.

Bank officials said the gift is in keeping with Southern Bank's philosophy of supporting the communities in which it operates.

"We're strong supporters of Mount Olive College," said John Heeden, senior vice president and marketing director. "What's good for the college is good for the town, the community. It's part of the foundation's ongoing support of Mount Olive College and its initiative."

Dr. Philip Kerstetter, president of the college, expressed his gratitude on behalf of the college.

"Southern Bank and Trust has been significant supporter of Mount Olive College. It is because of their support of the college and the community that we continue to prosper and grow. I appreciate all that they do, and I look forward to our continued work with them," he said in a press release issued Monday.

Bill Bryan grew up in Mount Olive and has been on the Southern Bank and Trust board of directors since 1992. He has served on the board of the Southern Bank Foundation since it was founded. He said he was aware of the contribution, but not directly involved.

"We certainly appreciate that the bank has made such a significant contribution to the college," Bryan said.

Bryan said he is a strong supporter of the college because of the energy it brings to the town and the diversity of activities it affords people living in Mount Olive and the surrounding area. He also praised the bank for its commitment to building the area's economy.

"Living in the area, I do appreciate what the college means to the community as well as what Southern Bank means to the community," Bryan said. "It's a very nice gift."

Byron Bryan served as mayor of Mount Olive from 1955 until 1961, as a Wayne County commissioner from 1963 until 1966 and president of Calypso Plywood Co.