Joseph McKinley Bryan, Sr., overcame poverty, a mother's mental
illness, a father's desertion, and a lack of formal education to
become a builder of people and institutions. The largest single
donor to Duke University outside of the Duke family, Bryan helped
create the Alzheimer's research facility at Duke and vitalized the
Duke Eye Center. He was also instrumental in the creation of
commercial and public television in North Carolina, including WBTV,
North Carolina's first television station, and UNC-TV, North
Carolina's statewide public television network. Bryan's name is now
associated with many of North Carolina's higher educational
institutions, including the Joseph M. Bryan School of Business at
the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and the Joseph M.
Bryan Student Center at Duke University.
Ned Cline interviewed Bryan's family, friends, associates, and
acquaintances to tell the whole story of this complex and
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