The Passing of Dr. Marlene O'Bryant-Seabrook
Dr. Marlene O'Bryant-Seabrook teaching a graduate course at The Citadel , seated left
Dear Citadel Family and Charleston Community,
I am saddened to report the passing of Dr. Marlene O'Bryant-Seabrook, The Citadel Graduate College Class of 1972, and the first full-time African American professor at The Citadel.
Dr. O'Bryant-Seabrook was a Charleston native, where she lived most of her life. She came from a long line of educators committed to teaching, the arts, and improving the lives of South Carolinians. Her parents were teachers and principals in Charleston, and she received degrees from South Carolina State and The University of South Carolina, in addition to her Masters’ from The Citadel.
Beginning as an Adjunct Professor in 1972, she became the first full-time African American professor and one of the first two women professors at The Citadel in 1975. A trailblazer in special education, Dr. O’Bryant-Seabrook later continued her career with the Charleston County School District, retiring from full-time work in 1987. She remained as a substitute teacher and principal well into the early 2000’s, her dedication to students, fellow educators and community evident throughout.
In later years, Dr. O'Bryant-Seabrook became a world-renowned fiber artist, creating quilts evocative of her time as an educator- she saw her quilting as an extension of teaching, an artistic expression delivering a lesson or message. Most of her quilts reflected themes of the Civil Rights movement, and she was one of forty-four artists selected to create works commemorating the Inauguration of President Barack Obama.
The Citadel mourns the passing of Dr. Marlene O’Bryant-Seabrook, and celebrates her life and many accomplishments.
John W. Rosa
Lieutenant General, USAF (Retired)