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Bryan Pollard ’89 joined Drury’s newly formed architecture program in the 1980s. Pollard had a passion for art in high school but initially came to Drury as a business major.

He clearly recalls the day a casual conversation changed the course of his life.

“A Sigma Nu fraternity pledge brother and I were walking across Sunderland Field and he told me there was an architecture program on campus, headed up by Tom Parker of the Art Department,” Pollard says. “He said he was going to join, so I looked into it and jumped on it.”

Pollard had struggled with dyslexia over the years, and the move toward drawing, art and design was appealing.

“I excelled at it,” he says. “Discovering that combination of arts and mechanics was just a beautiful thing for me.”

Changing a major is never an easy decision, but Pollard’s move had an added wrinkle—the program was just getting off the ground and would not achieve full accreditation until after he graduated. It was a leap of faith. But there were two important factors underpinning that faith: Pollard had a genuine passion for the field, and he knew Drury’s liberal arts foundation would deliver a solid, well-rounded education no matter what the future held.

“It was a unique experience,” he says. “There was a small group of people that made the decision to take a risk going with a program that was in its infancy; people who had decided that it was worth it.”

It’s certainly been worth it for Pollard. Soon after graduation he headed to the West Coast and for more than 20 years he’s been designing custom residential homes as a licensed architect with his own practice in the Santa Barbara area.

“The personal attention I received as a student in the architecture program gave me a sense of confidence in my abilities that I’d never known before,” Pollard says. “It gave me the self-assurance to really take on the liberal arts portion of my education, despite my dyslexia. The combination of technical learning with other disciplines through the liberal arts is just a unique approach to developing a school of architecture. I am so proud to have come from the beginning a program that’s earned so many accolades over the years.”