The Dennis V. Bryant (A&S ’48) and Renee H. Bryant (NC ’48) Endowed Scholarship Fund was established with a $350,000 gift.
Dennis and Renee Bryant. (Photo courtesy of Dawn Hebert)
October 18, 2012
Renee (NC ’48) and Dennis Bryant (A&S ’48) were devoted to each other—and to Tulane University.
The couple met in college, and more than 60 years later, an endowed fund at Tulane for undergraduate scholarships ensures that their legacies will live on for countless generations.
Renee was at Newcomb College and Dennis was at Tulane when they fell in love. He had just returned from service in the Second World War and was editor of the Hullabaloo.
She was 21 years old when they got married, said her cousin Dawn Hebert (NC ’57), whose father and Renee Bryant’s uncle is F. Edward Hebert (L ’24). He is Louisiana’s longest-serving member of the U.S. House of Representatives and is memorialized at Tulane’s F. Edward Hebert Hall.
The newlyweds lived in New Orleans for a few years, before moving for Dennis’s career in public relations to Atlanta, then Birmingham, Alabama. They finally settled in Baton Rouge, where Dennis worked as director of advertising and publicity for the Louisiana Office of Tourism. Renee was a homemaker who took pride in taking care of her husband and their home, said her cousin Frances Bahlinger.
Happily married, the couple never had children. They were together for 40 years until Dennis’s death in 1989, of cancer.
He wanted his body donated to science at Tulane. After he passed away, Hebert remembers, the funeral home called, reporting that his body was on the way to Louisiana State University.
“‘Don’t you dare,’” Hebert remembers her cousin saying. “He was a very big Tulane fan. He would have had a fit.” His widow made sure her husband’s body was taken to Tulane, just as hers was, two decades later.
After her husband’s death, Renee stayed active in a book club, took classes for senior citizens at LSU and went to the symphony, Hebert said.
Caretaker Janice Ahaiwe looked after Renee in her later years and said the widow often talked about her husband and pored over photos the couple had taken on their world travels. “She always said she missed him a whole lot,” Ahaiwe said.
In February, Renee passed away and left $350,000 to Tulane for an endowed fund, named after both her and her husband. According to her wishes, the Dennis V. Bryant (A&S ’48) and Renee H. Bryant (NC ’48) Endowed Scholarship Fund provides scholarships for deserving undergraduate students.
Renee created the endowment in large part in memory of her husband, who was very involved with Tulane even after he graduated.
Ahaiwe said the scholarship fund underscores Renee’s generous nature.
“She always thought of other people,” Ahaiwe said. “She always thought of other peoples’ needs and wants.”
Mary Sparacello is a writer in the Office of Development.
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