Tod Bryant Receives Distinguished Alumnus Award for Historic Preservation
Norwalk Preservation Trust’s president, Tod Bryant, was honored on July 30, 2022 with a distinguished alumnus award from Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland during the Master of Arts in Historic Preservation (MAHP) Annual Assembly, presented by Melanie Lytle, Director of the Historic Preservation Graduate Program:
The award recognizes alumnae/i who have made significant contributions to historic preservation practice and policy, and whose accomplishments, affiliations, and careers have honored the legacy of excellence at the program. Eligible nominations are reviewed by the MAHP academic director and an award committee. This year, we were delighted to recognize Tod Bryant, who graduated in 2008, for his significant contributions to preservation practice and policy.
In his acceptance speech, Tod reflected upon his career(s), historic preservation in general, and Norwalk in particular (22 minutes):
Tod was nominated for the award by Wes Haynes, Executive Director of the Merritt Parkway Conservancy, with supporting letters of endorsement from Paul Loether, former Chief of the National Register of Historic Places and the National Historic Landmarks Program, along with the late Bill Collins, former Mayor of Norwalk, who wrote the following:
Needless to say, those of us in Norwalk have been great beneficiaries of Goucher’s historic preservation program and the quality of student that you have attracted to it. I’m not sure what brought Tod and Marija to Norwalk in the first place, but he soon became the face of preservation for our city, founded the Preservation Trust, initiated awards for citizens identifying and caring for our local assets, and made Norwalk a destination for visitors seeking to visit important pieces of our city’s long and colorful past.
It is always warming to me to watch lay citizens step forward to show pride in various of Norwalk’s historic mementos which would have disappeared long ago if savvy residents had not realized their historic value and the sidelight on the history of their day which they help to illuminate. They certainly aided me in being a better-informed politician.
In short, Tod’s work has been central to bringing an advanced sense of appreciation of our city’s special character and has raised our image in the eyes of other municipalities around the state. The more we recognize and appreciate the high points of our own past, the more we will be ready to strive to expand on them in our future.
Mayor Collins had a crucial leadership role in saving historic South Norwalk from demolition in the 1980s. For more information on that difficult and vital moment, see Our Story.
Tod’s response to this honor is best seen in his video presentation above, but NPT has also released the following statement:
I am very grateful to the award committee and the Goucher College Master of Arts in Historic Preservation program for choosing me for this prestigious award. My interest in preservation began with opposition to the Norwalk Inn’s plan to demolish the Grumman-St.John House at 93 East Avenue. My late wife Marija and I, along with others concerned with the loss of Norwalk’s architectural heritage, founded the Norwalk Preservation Trust in response to that issue, but I saw that there was much more to historic preservation than simply opposing individual projects. The Goucher program provided me with the basis of a career in historic preservation that began with my graduation in 2008 and continues to this day. It is a small but powerful program that produces graduates who fill the ranks of preservation organizations throughout the country, as well as independent consultants. There is no better masters program in historic preservation anywhere.
Norwalk Preservation Trust
P.O. Box 874
Norwalk, CT 06852