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USF mourns loss of long-time English professor

Alma Green Bryant, a member of the Department of English at the University of South Florida for 39 years, died Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011. Born in Elberton, Ga., she grew up in Fort Valley, Ga. Bryant was a graduate of Fort Valley State College in Georgia, where she received a bachelor’s degree with honors, Columbia University (M.A.), and the University of Florida (Ed.D.).

After concentrating on classroom teaching for the first five years at the university, she became director of freshman English in 1977, a position she held for seven years. Bryant was the first director to be specifically trained in the (then) new field of composition, and the department now has an award named after her for the outstanding graduate student in that area.

After stepping down from the director’s position, Bryant took a two-year leave of absence to return to her alma mater, Fort Valley State College, to become chair of its English department. This was one of two leaves she took during the years to serve at historically Black colleges. In 2000-2001 she travelled to Nashville, Tenn., to serve as executive assistant to the President of Fisk University. After her stay in Fort Valley, she returned to USF to become co-coordinator of the new USF Writing Lab and shortly thereafter became associate chair of the department, a position she held all-in-all for 12 years. In between tours as associate chair, she also served as associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at USF.

At the time of her death, she was coordinator of the undergraduate professional and technical writing program. Before taking on those responsibilities, she served in 2004-2006 as interim chair of the department, steering the department through a difficult time of transition with reassuring calm and evenhandedness.

For all of her administrative ability and accomplishments, Bryant also was admired for her accomplishments in the classroom. She taught the first course in technical writing at USF and one of the first graduate classes in rhetoric and composition. She trained generations of student-teachers in composition, many of whom she continued to be in touch with for years after they left the university. She also served on numerous university committees. For two years (1978-80) she edited The Florida English Journal.

Outside of the university, she was active in several different professional societies and accrediting associations and also made numerous public appearances all over the west coast of Florida. Among all her accomplishments in the community, she was perhaps proudest of her longtime membership on the board of trustees of University Community Hospital and the Tarpon Springs Hospital Foundation.

Bryant was preceded in death by her husband, William "Bill" Bryant. She is survived by a devoted nephew, Arthur W. Miller of Tampa, Fla.; daughter Norean Yvette Morgan of Augusta, Ga.; sister Beverly Green Rohan of Decatur, Ga.; stepdaughters Deborah Bryant of Tampa, Kathy Bryant and Brigitte Rogers (Larry) of Maryland; and a host of grandchildren, nieces, and nephews.

Private services will be held at Goodwill Cemetery in Fort Valley, Ga. In lieu of flowers, please make contributions to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, PO Box 650309, Dallas, TX 75265-0309.


Filed under:Arts and Sciences English    
Author: Hunt Hawkins, Ph.D.