The Morristown nonprofit dedicated to helping blind people increase their independence and self-confidence with Seeing Eye dogs, now has a three-time graduate of its training program leading its board of trustees.
Attorney Cynthia Bryant, who took up the gavel at The Seeing Eye board’s first meeting of the year March 9, is currently working with a Seeing Eye dog named Summer, a yellow Labrador and golden retriever cross. Bryant and Summer graduated from the Seeing Eye in July 2017.
Bryant, who is also the first person of color to chair the board, was matched with her first Seeing Eye dog, a black Labrador and golden retriever cross named Royale, in March 2008, and her second was a black Labrador retriever named Sophia.
“The Seeing Eye has been a part of my life for 15 years now,” Bryant said. “When I first came to The Seeing Eye, I’d never had a dog before… in fact, I was afraid of dogs. Now I can’t imagine my life without one.”
Bryant, who worked for the U.S. government for more than 20 years as a special counsel before her retirement, is now a mediator, negotiator, and diversity practitioner. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Bradford College, her law degree from the University of Kansas, and a Master of Laws from American University.
In addition to being the first person of color to chair the board, Bryant is the first woman to serve as chair since The Seeing Eye’s co-founder, Dorothy Harrison Eustis, held the dual title of board chair and president from 1929 to 1940.
A resident of Chevy Chase, Maryland, Bryant has served on The Seeing Eye’s Board of Trustees since 2011. She succeeds Thomas Duffy, who served as chair for six years and now serves as an honorary trustee.
“It will be a pleasure to continue to work with Cynthia, whom I have known since she joined the board,” said Margaret E.L. “Peggi” Howard, The Seeing Eye’s president & CEO, who has served as a trustee since 2008. “Her experiences as a graduate, as an attorney, and as an executive bring valuable insight, wisdom, and leadership to The Seeing Eye as we head into our 95th anniversary year.”
Bryant is a former member of the Board of Governors for the University of Kansas Law School and serves on the law school’s Diversity Advisory Council. She is a board member for National Industries for the Blind and is a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors, National Association for Multicultural Education, National Speakers Association, Association for Conflict Resolution, and the African-American Federal Executive Association. She is a member of the bars of Missouri, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Seeing Eye, founded in 1929, provides specially bred and trained dogs to guide people who are blind. Seeing Eye dog users experience greatly enhanced mobility and independence, allowing them to retain their active lifestyles despite blindness. The Seeing Eye is a 501(c)3 non-profit supported by contributions from individuals, corporations, foundations, bequests, and other planned gifts.
The Seeing Eye is a trademarked name and can only be used to describe the dogs bred and trained at the school’s facilities in Morristown. In 2020, the Seeing Eye dog was designated the official State Dog of New Jersey. For more information on The Seeing Eye, visit www.SeeingEye.org, call (973) 539-4425, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.