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A sweet reward

Anthropology professor Vaughn Bryant was Regent Professor by the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents on November 15--the highest honor bestowed within the Texas A&M University System.

By Alix Poth ’18

Vaughn Bryant, professor in the Department of Anthropology, was one of fifteen faculty members named Regent Professor by the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents on November 15–the highest honor bestowed within the Texas A&M University System.

“I consider the Regents Professorship award not only a great honor, but also the most important recognition I have received during my long academic career of 50 years teaching at the university level,” Bryant said. “I was contacted about this award while in the hospital receiving a transfusion of two pints of blood because I have leukemia. I suspect no other recipient could make such a claim about how they learned they were awarded a Regents Professorship.”

“These outstanding individuals are doing incredible work on behalf of the A&M System and the entire state of Texas,” said A&M System Chancellor John Sharp in the news release. “They exemplify the values and commitment to excellence that defines the A&M System and I am grateful for their dedication.”

Bryant certainly has contributed in exceptional ways to Texas A&M: he helped create what is now known as the Department of Anthropology, started the university’s Palynology Laboratory, and led the way as a key analyzer in the fields of pollen and honey. Even when faced with the difficult trial of battling cancer, he continued both his teaching and his research while undergoing cancer treatment.

Professor Bryant wearing a maroon coat holding a beekeeper's hat

Regent Professor Vaughn Bryant

Bryant’s influence also extends far beyond College Station. Included among his prestigious record of work, Bryant has worked with both the U.S. Army and with the U.S. Department of Agriculture on pollen analysis. He has earned degrees in geography, anthropology, and botany, and has been interviewed by Fox News, CBS, BBC, and The Today Show. He is also considered an expert on the subject of kissing.

Other awards earned by Bryant include the American Association of Stratigraphic Palynologists (AASP) Medal for Scientific Excellence, as well as the Outstanding Educator and Distinguished Service awards. He also was awarded the president’s award for exemplary service to the Texas Archaeological Society.

“Vaughn Bryant has given so much to our college and university over the years that it is very gratifying to see him honored with a Regents’ Professorship,” said College of Liberal Arts Dean Pamela Matthews. “He is the complete professor: committed to his important research in palynology, dedicated to his students, and selfless in his service to Texas A&M University.  Those of us who are lucky enough to have worked with Vaughn are better for knowing him.”

The Regents Professor Awards program was established to recognize employees that have made remarkable contributions to the university and society. A special recognition ceremony will be held in the spring.

Bryant is a true innovator, and Texas A&M is better because of it. Bryant’s dedication and extraordinary impacts cannot be overstated.