One of the enduring values of a PC education – aside from the strong academic foundation received – is the value of deep and abiding relationships. The culture of the College – the PC Spirit – calls us into a life of service. When we finish our undergraduate journey, each newly minted graduate knows intellectually, morally and spiritually that a life of service and a life of community is our highest calling. The practice of service demands of us that we be in relationship and that we are willing to be sacrificial in that relationship. Unlike many other institutions of higher learning, the focus of the pursuit of education is not to serve one’s own needs; rather it is to serve each other. PC captures our hearts and our minds at a critical point in our young adult life – the point at which we move from dependence on our parents and high school teachers to a fork in the road of independence or interdependence. We can choose to live a life of independence – where we struggle with the illusions of control, self-help, and personal gain – or the opportunity of interdependence – to relinquish control, rely on others and seek the greater good. Presbyterian College lays a solid roadbed for the lesser traveled path of interdependence.
It should be no surprise then, that almost one in six (6) alumni since the College fully opened her doors to women in the late 1960s and early 1970s, depart from PC with a partner for life. If the PC Spirit exacts of us a call to serve others sacrificially, then what better way to begin adult life than with a partner cut from the same cloth.
For us, the realization of how powerful that gift has been to the College was at the homegoing celebration for one of the College’s most faithful servants – Thomas Aurelius Stallworth. Tom was Kay’s advisor at PC and remained a dear and close friend until his death. We are not normally jealous people, but the two of us probably looked green (with envy) when one of the officiants at his funeral asked those in attendance to raise their hands if they had been married by Tom. Almost every hand was raised – young to old. As we reflected on that we noted that most, if not all, of our PC friends, were still married after 30+ years but very few of Brad’s law school classmates were still married. We believe PC made the difference in our lives – individually and corporately – and allowed us to move quickly beyond the “I” within us to the “we” that has made our almost 42 years of marriage (and 44 years of courtship) the foundation of a meaningful life as engaged parents, alumni, community members and friends to others.
When we travel back to the College, we find sanctuary – a place to recharge our batteries. And we need that boost. There are so many opportunities to serve and so little time to offer ourselves. And we have found that a PC alumnus does not know the meaning of “no” when it comes to service. We support the Neville Renovation because she is both a physical reminder of the heart of the College but is the place that so many of us met. She has served faithfully legions of young minds and prepared them to make the world a better place. Brad claims he spotted Kay the first day of freshman orientation while she was standing on Neville’s steps. Our favorite location on campus, however, is the south door of Richardson Science – not because science was so interesting – but due to the chemistry of a first kiss on a cold January night in 1973 when a rare South Carolina snowfall closed the campus. Little science – lots of magic!
For the two of us, PC not only prepared us for life, it “pre-paired” us for life. And that has made all the difference in the world.
Brad Bryant ’75 & Kay (Cook) Bryant ’76