Published on June 23, 2015 by William Nunnelley  

Jack Brymer first visited Mount Meru University in Arusha, Tanzania, in 1993 on assignment from the Florida Baptist Convention, where he served as editor of the Florida Baptist newspaper. The longtime editor and communicator was to assist the school with its public relations and alumni development programs. The school, then known as International Baptist Theological Seminary of Eastern Africa, had about 100 students.

Brymer developed a deep interest in the school and began visiting it regularly as a volunteer to teach and help in the seminary development. He has watched the institution earn accreditation (in 2003) and grow to an enrollment of 2,500 students in five locations.

In 1993, I took a computer and programs along to help faculty generate their own lesson plans,” Brymer recalled. “The government of Tanzania did not recognize degrees for seminary education. As a result, its graduates could not get better paying government jobs such as school teacher or accountant.

Brymer said enrollment mushroomed when the school gained accreditation from the Education Department of Tanzania.

Enrollment growth brought with it the need for additional facilities. One such facility is the new Jack E. Brymer Education Building, which was named in his honor last November. It recognizes Brymer’s numerous contributions to the school and its programs over the years.

Brymer has fond memories of his visits to the school. One of his favorites is graduation.

The students were so pleased and happy to earn their degrees/diplomas/certificates,” he said. “Families would jump and shout with praise when their child’s name or family member’s name was called.

Brymer, a public relations assistant at Samford University, has high praise for the leadership of Dr. Harrison Olan’g, the vice chancellor (president) of Mount Meru University. “He led the effort for the seminary to become an accredited university,” said Brymer. Olan’g is a graduate of the school and of Mary Hardin Baylor University in Texas, with a Ph.D. degree from Brunel University in England.

Brymer added that many other volunteers are responsible for the growth of the school.

What moved Brymer to stay so active in his support of the school?

The eagerness with which the students desired to learn,” he said.

Brymer was managing editor of The Alabama Baptist newspaper before becoming editor of the Florida Baptist Witness newspaper. Later, he joined Samford as director of publications before moving to his present post. He holds an undergraduate degree in journalism from Samford and master’s degree in journalism from the University of Alabama. He also holds an honorary doctorate from Judson College.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.