Citizen of the Year
Lolita Bryant recognized for health care contributions
LOLITA BRYANT knew she wanted to be a nurse since high school. The former Hoggard High School graduate was thankful to her health occupations teacher who further inspired her decision. “She really enjoyed teaching the class, and her energy and drive for the profession made me want to become a nurse as well,” Bryant says.
Not only did Bryant pursue nursing as an undergrad but she went on to get her master’s and eventually a doctorate’s degree. While working at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, she was accepted into Gardner-Webb University and obtained her doctorate in nursing practice in May 2020.
Her first nursing job was on the neuro-stroke unit at Novant Health New Hanover Regional Medical Center. From there “I went on to become a labor and delivery nurse and continued my education at the UNCW in the online nursing program,” she says.
Once she completed that program, she began working as a nursing supervisor and an administrative operations officer at the hospital.
Bryant’s nursing journey involved teaching at Cape Fear Community College, where she found a love for being around students. She brought that passion to UNCW where Bryant went from working as part-time clinical faculty with the university to eventually becoming a full-time faculty member in the College of Health and Human Services School of Nursing.
One of Bryant’s biggest acknowledgments is recently being named UNCW Distinguished Citizen of the Year.
“I was overwhelmed with joy, honored, and grateful to receive the award,” she says. The award highlights her contributions to the university as an alumni board of director’s member, past president of the UNCW African American Graduate Association, and chair of the Alumni Scholarship and Awards committee. Her dedication to UNCW extends the school of nursing. She has been a mentor for and donor of the Seahawks. Bryant was recently honored at the school’s homecoming celebration.
Bryant was born and raised in Wilmington and long before her attendance at UNCW, the school held a special place for her beyond being involved in just the academic community. To honor those ties, she recently established the Dr. Lolita B. Bryant, Abram Bishop and Family Endowed Scholarship for Diversity in Nursing. The scholarship pays tribute to her family’s legacy at UNCW and to assist the School of Nursing in meeting its commitment to maintaining a campus environment that values diversity in its student body. Her great-great-grandfather ABRAM BISHOP’s former homestead was once located where UNCW’s Trask Coliseum now stands.
For Bryant, one of her proudest personal achievements is one of her current projects. She is working on establishing a postpartum support group for Wilmington mothers.
“I am the Postpartum Support International coordinator for New Hanover and Brunswick counties and provide resources as needed for the mothers,” she says. “Many mothers experience perinatal mood disorders before, during and up to one year after the birth of their child and having a support group provides opportunities for the mothers to come together, share stories, and encourage one another on motherhood as well.”
To view more of photographer Terah Hoobler’s work, go to terahhoobler.com.
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