Announcing the Retirement of Dr. Bryant Mangum
May 20, 2022
A. Bryant Mangum will retire on September 1 after fifty years of service at VCU. His wisdom, good humor, institutional knowledge, and exemplary performance in every area of faculty work will be deeply missed. He inspired our students with his creative and engaging classes and inspired his colleagues with his indefatigable energy throughout the entire course of his career.
Bryant joined the VCU Department of English in 1971, while he was still completing his Ph.D. which he earned from the University of South Carolina in 1975. During his fifty years at VCU, Bryant has received almost every accolade the university—and the Commonwealth of Virginia—offers a faculty member: the VCU University’s Distinguished Teaching Award, SCHEV’s Outstanding Faculty Award, VCU Board of Visitors Teaching Fellow, the Elske v.P Smith Distinguished Lecturer Award, and the SAMLA Outstanding Teaching Award. He was always on the leading edge of engaging students in new and innovative ways as evidenced by his recent recognition with a VCU UROP Faculty Mentor Award in 2019. He was famous for his class on The New Yorker, a course that graduate and undergraduate students either still fondly remember or eagerly ask about taking, which generated much subsequent work in independent studies by students seeking to dive even deeper into the writers to whom he introduced them.
While he possesses encyclopedic knowledge of The New Yorker, he is perhaps even better known as an expert on F. Scott Fitzgerald. Bryant published widely and meaningfully, giving equal time to literary criticism (such as his first monograph, A Fortune Yet: Money in the Art of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Short Stories) and to trenchant editorial work that brought together previously uncollected short stories with his edition Best Early Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald, or assembled world-class Fitzgerald scholars for Cambridge University Press in F. Scott Fitzgerald in Context. Despite his well-established reputation as a Fitzgerald scholar, Bryant forged new ground with his most recent monograph Understanding Alice Adams which shed light on this under-discussed, groundbreaking author who published more than twenty stories in The New Yorker over the course of her career.
As if award-winning teaching and significant and sustained scholarship were not enough, Bryant has always been an ideal colleague and university citizen. At the university level, he had important roles at a time when the university was coming into its own, serving on the President’s Advisory Council, the College’s Promotion and Tenure Committee, and the Faculty Senate. His impact on the department was profound; he sat on (and frequently chaired) dozens of tenure and promotion and search committees, served on the MFA committee for more than fifteen years, and directed the MA program at a particularly crucial time. He also created and administered First Friday, a collegial and engaging series that featured faculty presentations for more than a decade.
I know you will join me in thanking Bryant for his service and congratulating him on a stellar career.