Welcome to the Evolving Man Project’s ‘Evolved Man of the Week’ profiles. Each week we will highlight an individual that embodies what it means to be an evolved man, famous and non-famous men alike. The world needs to know their stories and deeds. This week’s honor goes to the former college athlete, counselor, member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc, mentor, and Northern Illinois University legend, Don Bramlett.
Bramlett born and raised in St. Louis, MO. Mr. Bramlett attended Beaumont High School. Basketball was always a creative and enjoyable outlet for Mr. Bramlett as he played for the team throughout his years. For his academic excellence and athletic prowess, Mr. Bramlett earned a scholarship to go to Northeast Missouri State College, now known as Truman State University. He would go on to receive his master’s degree in counseling from Truman.
Don Bramlett has spent an entire career empowering, mentoring, and developing confidence in both youth and young adults. He’s worked as a school counselor at Danville High School, CHANE Counselor, and the Director of Retention programs at Northern Illinois University. He has served the NIU and Dekalb community since 1976. This year, Mr. Don Bramlett is set to retire. However, his legacy will live on in the lives of countless people who he’s helped to unlock their full potential.
Bramlett and several NIU students founded Black Male Initiative in 2001 to help increase the retention and graduation rates of African-American males at NIU. The program provides students with activities that recognize academic success, promote community service, instill leadership skills and foster social interaction.
Mr. Bramlett has not only focused on helping African-American males achieve success in higher education, but he has also been an advocate for NIU’s Latino community. On the heels of BMI’s success, Bramlett organized SOL in 2006, which has grown to a group of 25 members. Also, Bramlett has been the advisor of the Latino Student Alliance (LSA) and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE).
Don has been the faculty advisor for many organizations on campus including Black Male Initiative, Supporting Opportunities for Latinos, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Latino, Student Alliance, Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. to name a few. Most recently, he has helped the women on campus organize and create the Student African-American Sisterhood (SAAS), a female counterpart of SAAB.
In 2007, he retired from his position but continued serving the community as the Graduation Specialist on campus. In 2010, he was the recipient of the Deacon Davis Diversity Award for his contributions to the lives of minorities on the campus of NIU.
Here is Mr. Don Bramlett in his own words about student advocacy and success:
“I think it’s important to have people on campus who are really strong advocates for our students and who will follow up with students,” … “I don’t want students to come here, to be here for three years, accumulate debt and not get their degree.”
Don Bramlett retirement will be a significant loss to the Northern Illinois University and the larger DeKalb, IL community. Mr. Bramlett has positively impacted my own life. As a BMI member in college, I was able to attend the University of Chicago and obtain a masters degree in social work. Thanks, Don Bramlett’s vast network and encouragement to apply. We at the Evolving Man Project wish Mr. Don Bramlett and his family the best in his retirement. He is a man who has dedicated his life to the improvement of countless men and women. Today we honor Don Bramlett as our Evolved Man of the Week.