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SIU community remembers Seymour Bryson and Harvey Welch

CARBONDALE (WSIL) — Two instrumental figures to SIU passed away over the weekend.

Seymour Bryson and Harvey Welch both came to the university as basketball standouts in the 1950s: Welch was the first black man on the team and Bryson followed shortly after, setting a school record for rebounds that still stands today.

"They were pioneers and both were incredible gentlemen. What they’ve done for our university, the impact that they made, the lives they touched, it’s just incredible," said SIU Director of Athletics Jerry Kill. 

Bryson received three degrees from SIU and proceeded to teach at the university.

After graduating, Welch served in the U.S. Air Force for two decades reaching the rank of Lt. Col. before returning to SIU.

Both men went on to serve as administrators at SIU in various roles: Bryson was the first African-American associate dean of a college and the second African-American dean while Welch was the first African-American dean of student life.

Bryson was also active in the Carbondale NAACP, the Jackson County Mental Health Board and the Carbondale United Way. He was recently given the 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award by the SIU Alumni Association.


The funeral service for Harvey Welch, Jr. will be at 10:30 AM on Thursday, May 9, at Epiphany Lutheran Church in Carbondale. Visitation is Wednesday, May 8, from 5 to 8 PM at Epiphany Lutheran Church. You can read Welch’s obituary here.

Visitation for Seymour Bryson will begin at 11 a.m. until the time of service at 1 p.m. Monday, May 13, at Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in Carbondale. You can read Bryson’s obituary here.

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