Monday, November 28, 2011

Alumna Shares Passion and Life-Long Connection with UNCW

Few have the love for UNCW that Lolita Bryant '04, '11M does. The love stems from the history of her father and his siblings living and growing up on the land that the stately georgian architecture now rests on. The area was quite different then. It was farm land.

Knowing that this land was once owned by her great-great-grandparents, Lolita’s face lights up when she talks about the university she feels so strongly connected to. Ask her about her education and there’s no mistaking the appreciation and fondness in her voice.

After attending classes at Winston-Salem State University she returned home and began taking classes at UNCW in 1983. She then attended James Sprunt Community College and obtained an Associate Degree in Nursing. Lolita returned to UNCW once the university started offering a bachelor’s degree in her passion, nursing. Stemming from courses she took at John T. Hoggard High School, Lolita’s desire became a reality nearly 30 years ago. She has been comforting, nurturing and guiding soon-to-be mothers as they bring their unborn children into the world since.

Working around her busy schedule, Lolita completed her bachelor’s degree, taking one class at a time, in 2004. She participated in the Senior Sankofa Ceremony just prior to graduation. Finding the event to be a very touching experience, Lolita vowed to attend each one since, and she has. Learning about the African American Graduate Association (AAGA), who co-hosts the event, Lolita quickly became involved as an alumni volunteer and later, as chairperson in 2009.

Appreciative of the encouragement and support she received by the faculty while taking classes, Lolita became interested in teaching as well. In conjunction with working towards her master's degree in the nursing education program, Lolita taught students at the hospital where she works and also the university. "If it's in your heart to do it, go for it. No matter what it takes to do it, keep going. Find those mentors that will help you stay focused and stay positive. Don't give up on your goal and you'll do it," she said.

This past May, she completed her master's degree and is looking forward to how she can  continue to inspire students and stay involved with the university.  "Because I love nursing the way that I do and I was so involved with the university, I would love to have a scholarship and be able to award that to a student," Lolita shared.    

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