Wright Bryan

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Wright Bryan (full name William Wright Bryan, Sr.) was a leading American journalist and newspaper editor. He was a lifelong Clemson man, as a faculty brat, graduate, administrator, and historian of the university.

Born August 6, 1905. Son of Arthur Buist Bryan, Clemson graduate and faculty member. Grew up in Clemson.

As a boy on the Clemson campus he was nicknamed "Little Bald-head," in reference to his professor father who was called "Bald-head Bryan."

He attended Clemson, graduated class of 1926, and was editor of The Tiger 1925-26.

Attended graduate school in journalism at the University of Missouri.

Went to work as a reporter for the Atlanta Journal. Rose through the paper's ranks, to Managing Editor by 1943.

World War II war correspondent in London and France for the Journal, WSB radio, and NBC radio, 1943 to 1944. The high point of his professional career was having the scoop on one of the biggest stories of the 20th century: he broadcast the first eyewitness account of the D-Day invasion. On September 13, 1944, Bryan was wounded and captured by the Germans in France. He spent several months in Oflag 64, a Nazi POW camp in Poland, until he was liberated in 1945.

After the war was named Editor of the Atlanta Journal, and served in that position from 1945 to 1954.

President of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, 1952-1953.

Editor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, 1954-1963.

In 1964 he returned to Clemson as the University’s Vice President of Development.

Retired in 1970, remaining in Clemson. Died there, February 13 1991, of pneumonia.

Wrote Clemson: An Informal History of the University, 1889-1979 (1979).

Friend of Ben Robertson, and wrote the introduction to one edition of Robertson’s classic 1942 memoir Red Hills and Cotton.

He was awarded the nation’s highest civilian decoration, the Medal of Freedom, by President Eisenhower, as well as the Clemson Medallion and honorary degrees from Clemson and Wooster College (Ohio). Clemson also gave him a distinguished alumni award. He was the alumni association president in 1958. A Clemson scholarship was established in his honor.

Lifelong Clemson sports fan. It’s entirely possible that he watched a Clemson football game in each decade of the 20th century (though his 1990s games would have been watched on TV only).

AP obit from NYT: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CE7DD1138F936A25751C0A967958260

A short clip from his D-Day broadcast is here: http://www.wsbhistory.com/40speopleatoj.html

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