Ashel G. Bryan, class of 1946, passed away Sept. 26 at home in Bowling Green. One of the most respected community leaders in the area and former president of the bank that eventually became Mid-American National Bank and Trust Co., he and his late wife, Dorothy, were dedicated and generous supporters of the University. Their names can be found across campus—from the Dorothy Uber Bryan Gallery in the Fine Arts Center to Bryan Recital Hall in Kobacker Hall to the Ashel Bryan Endowed Professorship in the College of Business Administration.
"His generosity was instrumental in making BGSU what it is today on so many fronts," said Marcia Sloan Latta, senior associate vice president for advancement and director of alumni and development.
Bryan was an active participant in campus life. "He was present at so many events every week—athletic, musical, artistic and historical," Latta said.
Ashel Bryan served on the BGSU Board of Trustees from 1968-76, and on the BGSU Foundation Board from 1985-93. Over the years he was also a member of the Development Council, the WBGU Directors Council and was chairman of the campaign to raise funds for the College of Technology's aerotechnology endowment.
The Bryans were major supporters of scholarships and of an annual award to a faculty member in the School of Art, and were founders of the Medici Circle, which provides scholarships to students and faculty in the School of Art. They also supported the Bryan Chamber Series and Pro Musica in the College of Musical Arts, along with the Gish Film Theater.
"Ashel was a warm, kind and gentle man, with a powerful intelligence and a profound sense of community," said Katerina Rüedi Ray, director of the School of Art. "He and his wife were stalwart pillars of support for the arts at BGSU — and many other important initiatives across northwest Ohio. He was a mentor in so many ways, and I for one will continue to hold him as a model, close to my heart."
Earlier this month, Bryan was honored by music faculty and students with a special program titled "This Is Your Life, Ashel Bryan," in Kobacker Hall, featuring spoken and musical tributes to him.
The University named him both a Distinguished Alumnus and among its 100 most prominent alumni. During an event in April, Bryan recorded a video about his time at BGSU. You can watch it here.