University of Vermont

Bryan Honored by Vermont Legislature for 'Extraordinary Contributions to Vermont'

Frank Bryan, the John G. McCullough Professor of Political Science, was recognized by the Vermont State Legislature on April 16 with a resolution honoring his 36 years of “extraordinary contributions to Vermont.”

The resolution, unanimously passed by the Vermont House and Senate, was read aloud in front of many of Bryan’s colleagues from the political science department, and was followed by a lengthy standing ovation by the entire chamber. Bryan, who was accompanied by his wife Lee, is retiring this year and is considered one of the most influential political scientists in Vermont state history.  

The resolution, sponsored by Sen. Philip Baruth, Bryan’s UVM colleague from the English Department, and Rep. Terry Macaig of Williston, was co-sponsored by dozens of other senators and representatives.

“Whereas, Professor Frank Bryan is truly a citizen scholar as his appreciation of Vermont politics is rooted in a strong, personal, cultural affinity for and love of his home state as well as a superb mastery of the erudite elements of political science,” reads the resolution. “Whereas, he has written extensively in the academic and general presses, and in books on state and local politics, including his 2004 seminal work Real Democracy: The New England Town Meeting and How It Works which is based on three decades of empirical research… Whereas, in the state at large, Professor Frank Bryan is a renowned Vermont civic educator and an unofficial spokesperson for the unique cultural and political life of Vermont that has historically been associated with our State…”

Gregory Gause, professor and chair of the Political Science Department who was on hand for the reading of the resolution, says Bryan has been the face of the political science department, and for many, the face of the university for decades.

“Professor Frank Bryan has been a pillar of our department for 36 years,” writes Gause in his nominating letter for Bryan’s professor emeritus status. “In all three areas of his professional life – teaching, research and service – Professor Bryan has had an exemplary career… Bryan is, for two generations of UVM students and Vermonters more generally, ‘Mr. Vermont Politics.’ He is beloved by his colleagues as a great teacher, serious scholar, model colleague and good friend.”

Bryan has authored or edited six scholarly books and authored more than 40 scholarly articles and book chapters.A reviewer in Political Science Quarterly called Real Democracy: The New England Town Meeting and How It Works “the best book I have ever read on local government.” In 1986 Bryan both received the Andrew E. Nuquist Town Government Award from the Vermont League of Cities and Towns and was named a “New England Local Hero” by New England Magazine. His more recent honors and awards include the Medallion Award from the National Association of Secretaries of State (2010); an honorary degree from Marlboro College (2008); and the Curtiss/Loyzelle Green Mountain Boys’ State Director’s Award for more than 20 years of delivering the keynote address at Boys’ State (2006).

At UVM, Bryan has been the recipient of the George V. Kidder Outstanding Faculty Award (2004); Class of 2004 Award for Valuable Contributions to Students (2004); Kroepsch-Maurice Award for Excellence in Teaching (1999); named Dean’s Lecturer in 1996 by the College of Arts and Sciences; and won the Senior Class Council Award for Contributions to the Students of the University of Vermont (1991).