Professor Emeritus Bryant Mangum Retires After 50 Years of Teaching at VCU – VCU News

“I didn’t want him to know that we were working on this book, because I thought he would insist that we don’t do too much in his retirement, so I went back through years of emails to see the old reviews he sends sometimes. my brothers (Wrenn and Skip) and me,” said Wincott, a VCU alum, adding that he found new quotes online at RateMyProfessor.

The comments were similar in their respect for Mangum, both as a person and as a teacher.

“Have you ever felt that God blessed you when someone came into your life to change the way you think about yourself and your future?” wrote a former student. “Dr. Mangum was that person for me. “

Smart and kind, Mangum appreciates his years of teaching and inspiring his students.

“I believe that a university classroom is a place where the normal rules of communication are suspended by the same group, if it is not said in order to create a world where the ideas of that are encouraged with this person, it is heard, considered and answered,” he said. He believes that his teaching is successful “if I can see that the power of storytelling has helped them integrate their lives so that the students come back two, five to 10 years later tell me an idea we discussed in class.their lives.

A first contact for the English language

Mangum was born in the small South Carolina town of Ruby where a general store, grocery store, and grocery store served as a gathering place. “It was a different way of life back then,” he said of the Southern climate.

He became interested in English early in his life. His mother was an English major and a college graduate who focused on grammar and pronunciation, sometimes correcting Bryant for grammar mistakes.

“He always looked at the word. As a child, I was fascinated by words. I loved picking up words and parts of speech,” Bryant said. “In school, I didn’t argue with the teachers much, but I did argue with the English teachers when I thought it wasn’t right. they did it right.”

Mangum joined the VCU Department of English in 1971 while completing his Ph.D., which he received from the University of South Carolina in in 1975. During his half century at VCU, he was named to the VCU Board of Visiting Scholars. Fellow and recipient of VCU’s Distinguished Teaching Award, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia’s Outstanding Faculty Award, the Elske vP Smith Distinguished Lecturer Award, the Southern Atlantic Modern Language Association Outstanding Teaching Award and the VCU Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program Faculty Mentor Award .

Bryant Mangum, Ph.D.

“It’s hard to imagine VCU without Bryant Mangum,” said Catherine Ingrassia, Ph.D., interim dean of the College of Humanities and Sciences and former chair of the Department of English. “For 51 years, Dr. Mangum, a respected student and exemplary university citizen. What I will miss the most about Bryant — aside from his quick-wittedness, flamboyant personality and kind demeanor — is the example he set of being a steadfast and steadfast colleague in all areas of his life. original work throughout his career. He has a great legacy. As the hundreds of students who have had him as a professor over the years have testified, he has left an indelible mark on their way of learning and on the entire university. VCU is very fortunate to have an amazing faculty member like Dr. Mangum, and he will be greatly missed.

Mangum’s entrance into college. He was in the office of the director of graduate studies at the University of South Carolina when the director got a call about an open position at VCU teaching American literature. When he asked Mangum if he wanted to come to VCU and interview for the position, Mangum said yes.

“When you think about the little things that can change your life. What if I hadn’t been in the principal’s office when I got the call about the job at VCU? he said.

Exploring the Works of F. Scott Fitzgerald

Mangum, an expert on F. Scott Fitzgerald, discovered the modern short story writer and novelist while earning his master’s degree in English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“I love the Fitzgerald story, ‘Winter Dreams,’ which is a great example of ‘The Great Gatsby.’ I admired Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway,” he said, adding that he was drawn to Fitzgerald because of the poetry of his prose. “They are my two greatest writers. I like them because they are opposites. I was always pulled between those two authors. After I started my work at the University of South Carolina, I wasn’t sure if I would do my Ph. D. in Fitzgerald or Hemingway.

Mangum has written numerous articles, essays, reviews and book chapters. He has also written and edited several books, including “F. Scott Fitzgerald in Context,” “Best Early Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald” and “A Fortune Yet: Money in the Art of F .Scott Fitzgerald’s Short Stories.”

A columnist at The New Yorker, Mangum is best known for his column in the magazine long known for its bibliography, fiction, poetry, humor and cultural commentary.

Students speak

For the past 51 years, Mangum has shared his passion and knowledge with students like VCU alum Aine Norris, who took his classes and taught English in Northern Virginia. Community College.

“Dr. Mangum is generous with his time, teaching and concern for students. “He is dedicated not only to teaching and learning, but to making sure every student succeeds,” Norris said. next thing in line and the person after that and the person after that. I don’t know any other professor that can match Dr. Mangum’s humility, knowledge and kindness.

Despite being close to fame as an expert in modernist circles, Mangum brings out the research quietly and leads, not arrogantly, and wants to help students shine and enjoy the light, said Norris.

“He was always positive, always respectful and committed to his intellectual pursuits. Dr. Mangum is the professor I look up to when I’m in my classroom, interacting with my students and helping them learn and grow,” Norris said. “He’s the scientist I remember. my doing research and articles.That’s the model I carry forward.

A man standing left with his hand in front of him
“Dr. Mangum is generous with his time, teaching and responding to students. He is dedicated not only to teaching and learning, but to ensuring the success of each student,” VCU said. alum Aine Norris.

The comments from Mangum’s former students are just as important, VCU alum Angelica Bega said.

“What everyone likes to say about Dr. Mangum is the same thing – he remembers every student, no matter where they are in every class. , every jazz. To say that he remembers these issues and cares about his students is not an understatement. I introduced him to a friend – who take his class 30 years earlier – and watch him remember not only that student but the other students in the class and the full stories of many of them. And his care and his concerns the students like it’s amazing,” said Bega. “His passion for teaching and caring for students are at the heart of what makes him such a great teacher, mentor and friend. I am very happy to be his student.

Students like Jesse Gerlach Ulmer, Ph.D., a VCU graduate student and assistant professor of English at VCU in Qatar, are inspired by Mangum and appreciate the respect he gives them. as a student.

“I want Professor Mangum to know that he has not only influenced the education, growth and focus of many students, but students who have gone on to become professors like myself,” said and Ulmer. “Thank you, Dr. Mangum, for working tirelessly with your students and truly respecting them not just as college students but as real people full of promise and potential.”

One of the biggest lessons Wincott said he and his siblings learned from their father was to be kind to people above all else.

“He inspired us with his encouragement and always gave us the confidence to believe we could achieve anything we set our minds to,” Wincott said. “My father has something thoughtful to say about the things we talk with him and is very interested in everything we do. You always think with my father, and so I think many people admire him.