SIU, Region Mourn Loss of Two Iconic Figures

May 6, 2019

Two icons of Southern Illinois University and of the region have died.

SIUC Interim Chancellor John Dunn announced the loss of former Associate Chancellor for Diversity Seymour Bryson and former Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Harvey Welch. Both died over the weekend.

Bryson and Welch helped break the color barrier in SIU Athletics. Welch was the first African American to play on the men's basketball team - from 1951-1954 - and Bryson followed in 1955 on a basketball scholarship.

Welch was a native of Centralia, and was the first African American student to complete the ROTC program at SIUC. He went on to a career in the U.S. Air Force before to returning to his alma mater as Dean of Students.

He continued serving his community with the Carbondale Park District, Rotary International, Southern Illinois Regional Social Services, and more.

Bryson hailed from Quincy, and earned three degrees from SIUC. He served in the faculty and administration at the university. His service included the Carbondale Branch of the NAACP, Jackson County Mental Health Board, and Carbondale United Way.

Services for Welch and Bryson are still pending. University and community leaders say their contributions to the region will serve as a legacy for generations to come.