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Lamar honors Jerry Bradley with University Professor Award

bradleyLamar University honored Jerry W. Bradley as the 2014 University Professor at a ceremony in the Mary and John Gray Library April 9.  Bradley is professor of English and Modern Languages in Lamar’s highly respected College of Arts and Sciences. The professorship, awarded for life, is the most prestigious faculty award conferred by Lamar’s academic community.

“The award is the pinnacle of academic achievement at our university and is recognized by all as an emblem of highest merit,” said Stephen Doblin, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Recipients are selected by their colleagues and are chosen for their academic stature and achievements, honed in the demanding and competitive culture of higher education.”

In addition, Bradley will become the third Ann Die-Hasselmo Scholar, made possible by the creation and funding of the Lamar University Faculty Excellence Endowment by Ann Die Hasselmo, a 1966 graduate of LU.  Honored as Lamar’s 1986 Regents’ Professor, Hasselmo was a longtime faculty member whose career path later took her to top university administrative positions and other roles devoted to strengthening academic leadership.

President Kenneth Evans conferred the medallion of University Professor, presented to Bradley “as a lasting symbol of this high honor and esteemed title” and described as “the pinnacle of academic achievement at our university . . . recognized by all as an emblem of highest merit.”

Seated next to Don Price in Section P, Row 21, Seat 1 of the Montagne Center at every home basketball game, Jerry Bradley is a fan of the game.  He can recite the memorable moments, and less than memorable moments, of LU basketball.  His colleagues and students are fans of Jerry Bradley and they can recite his moments.   Indeed, the Jerry Bradley Award is given annually by the Southwest Popular Culture Association to the top graduate student in creative writing.      

Brenda Nichols, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, writes, “Dr. Bradley is known for his ability to mentor faculty as well as students, and he is a positive force for academic excellence.  He is a leader.”

Bradley has served Lamar extraordinarily well and has made significant contributions to Lamar, his department and, most importantly, his students.  In his humble and witty manner, he is one of Lamar’s most admired, productive, and accomplished faculty members.  He is appreciated by his students, praised by his colleagues, and respected by his scholarly peers.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Midwestern State University, and a Master of Arts and Ph.D. in English from TCU.  He is in his 44th year of university teaching, including 13 at Lamar. 

Jim Sanderson, chair of English and Modern Languages, commented that Bradley is a “pinch hitter and Mr. October” for his willingness to “take over a class or pick up a second at the last moment.”  During his Lamar tenure, he has taught almost 30 different courses, 18 undergraduate and 11 graduate courses. 

He is best known for his poetry and advanced grammar courses.  Sanderson claims, “students are ‘waiting in line’ to take Bradley’s grammar courses,” yes grammar courses!  He has served on dozens of graduate committees and has directed many master’s theses.  He is faculty sponsor of Sigma Tau Delta honorary English fraternity; has mentored four students who have won statewide creative writing contests sponsored by the Texas Association of Creative Writing Teachers; and guided one student who earned first place in creative writing from the Conference of College Teachers in English. 

His teaching excellence has been widely applauded and recognized.  In addition to the Piper Professorship, he received the Frances Hernandez Teacher-Scholar Award from the Conference of College Teachers of English and the Joe D. Thomas Scholar-Teacher of the Year Award from the Texas College English Association.

Bradley’s record of professional activity is astounding.  He is a member of the American Academy of Poets, Texas Institute of Letters, Popular Culture Association, and about a dozen other professional organizations.  He has received 43 grants, including four from the National Endowment for the Humanities; five from the Witter Bynner Poetry Foundation; and others from the Meadows Foundations, the Texas Commission on the Arts, and so on.  In addition, he has held dozens of key offices and leadership roles in these professional groups and has served as on the editorial board of numerous journals and publishing houses. 

He has delivered 89 scholarly conference presentations, given 188 readings of his creative work, and conducted 18 writing workshops.  He has published six books, more than 200 poems, 100 book reviews, and numerous essays, encyclopedia entries, and short stories.  His work is critically acclaimed, highly regarded, and widely cited. 

On the service front, Bradley has collected an impressive resume.  In our experience, excellence in instruction and scholarship is usually found among those who also generously serve their university, community and profession.  He served as Lamar’s dean of the College of Graduate Studies for seven years and as associate vice president of research for five.  He chaired the Graduate Council, Research Council, Patent Committee, and Animal Care Committee.  In addition, he has served on dozens of other university, college, and departmental committees and councils.  Off campus, he has judged more than 30 writing contests for schools, universities, and community writing groups. In his spare time, he volunteers with the Cardinal Club, the Friends of Hermann Park and the Rice Design Alliance. 

Sanderson said, “Dr. Bradley is energetic and dynamic, and always open to new ideas.  Choosing him as the 2014 University Professor would bring honor not just to him, but to Lamar University.”