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Bryan Thomas Jr.

Bryan Thomas Jr.

Associate Director, EDGE Doctoral Fellowship Program | Stanford University | Class of 2012

If it was a Thursday during the school year, that could only mean one thing: SOUL Night at the Florida Avenue Residence Halls.

“One of my favorite pastimes as a student,” says 2012 communications grad Bryan Thomas, associate director of Stanford’s EDGE Doctoral Fellowship Program.

“Every Thursday night, I was able to connect with friends and go to programs orchestrated by the black students’ organizations on campus. Without SOUL, I wouldn’t have made the connections that I still have today.”

He kept busy during his four years on campus, serving on the Illini Union Board in addition to being a member of Alpha Phil Alpha and the Men of Impact.

And whenever he needed some words of wisdom or his day brightened, he usually found himself going to the same spot — the Quad Shop.

“The person who had one of the most influential impacts on my time at Illinois was Keenan Anderson. Keenan used to be a manger in the Quad Shop before he retired a few years ago. He was always positive and willing to give advice on anything that came to mind.

“I can’t count the number of students who were impacted by Keenan’s presence. He truly embodied what it meant to be an Illini.”