Bryan Barksdale ’93
How Bryan Barksdale ’93 Made the Most of Brotherhood
Memphis, Tennessee, native Bryan Barksdale ’93 knew no one when he arrived at The University of Texas in pursuit of a psychology degree in the fall of 1989. He encountered a Delta Tau Delta member for the first time during formal recruitment week, after most of the chapter’s pledge class had already been formed. “During fall recruitment week, I met a lot of the guys who had already accepted Delt bids during summer recruitment, which cemented my decision to join the fraternity,” shared Bryan. “I knew that they were the type of guys that I wanted to be around for the next four years and beyond.”
After pledging Delt, Bryan balanced his time between academic pursuits, Delt brotherhood, and campus leadership, eventually serving as chapter pledge trainer in the spring of 1992. He was very active with the Interfraternity Council, ultimately serving as IFC president his senior year after holding a number of officer positions prior to that. “With respect to campus leadership, I was a Texas Cowboy, served as an orientation advisor, and was recognized as a Campus Goodfellow,” Bryan added. In addition, Bryan was one of 15 active Delts from around the country selected to attend the national fraternity’s inaugural Leadership Academy in 1992.
Bryan encourages Delt pledges and active members to become as involved with the fraternity and campus leadership opportunities as possible. “Your engagement is not only enriching for you, but it pays dividends to Gamma Iota as well,” he stated. “There is no doubt that the bonds that you forge within the chapter will last a lifetime and will be among the deepest relationships you build in your life.” Even so, Bryan emphasizes the importance of not being consumed by any single involvement, the fraternity included. Rather, Delt men should branch out with enthusiasm and intent, and ideally, be multifaceted. “My fraternity big brother encouraged me to get involved in campus leadership activities during the fall of my freshman year, and I’m very thankful that he did,” he says. “My time at UT wouldn’t have been the same without those experiences, and it opened many doors for me.”
His experience at UT led him to pursue a graduate degree in higher education administration, and Bryan earned his M.Ed. from the University of Mississippi. He spent a summer working for the national fraternity in Indianapolis, organizing the Adopt Atlanta program and serving as instructor for the undergraduate Leadership Academy in 1994. Thereafter, he worked at Ole Miss as the assistant dean of students, overseeing Greek life and student organizations. After several years at Ole Miss, he enrolled in law school at Washington & Lee University, where he earned his J.D.
Today, Bryan is the general counsel and secretary of YETI, an outdoor products company based in Austin. “I am blessed to work with a group of people who are extremely passionate about what we do, and we get to design uncompromising products that combine design, durability, and performance and stand up to the world’s harshest conditions,” said Bryan.
Though day-to-day life does not allow a great deal of time to keep in regular touch with his fellow Delts, Bryan finds that he and his chapter brothers are able to reconnect without missing a beat, regardless of how much time has passed since they last saw one another.
Bryan and his wife, Kristi, have three sons, Carter, William, and Robert, and his life revolves around family and family activities. He is an avid outdoorsman and fly fisherman, knows his way around the kitchen and barbecue pit, and plays the guitar when time permits. Bryan last visited the Gamma Iota chapter house about six months ago and says, “I’m always impressed with the quality of the active members that I meet when I visit. I’m proud to be a part of that continuing legacy.” You can connect with Bryan at firstname.lastname@example.org.