Professor Bryan Giemza
Randolph-Macon College English Professor Bryan
Giemza is one of 12 recipients of the 2012 SCHEV/Dominion Resources Outstanding
Faculty Award (OFA), the Commonwealth's highest honor for faculty at Virginia's
public and private colleges and universities.
The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) and Dominion Resources
announced on January 25, 2012 the faculty members from Virginia’s public and private
colleges and universities who were selected to receive awards. Giemza received the
Rising Star Award for his scholarship and dedication to teaching and service.
In his letter of nomination to SCHEV, R-MC Provost William Franz wrote, “Bryan Giemza’s
work embodies those principles of scholarship that go beyond mere productivity.
He demonstrates how the love of teaching can make the world a better place and draw
lifelong learners to liberal education in a way that reflects the college’s highest
The awards program honors faculty members for excellence in teaching, research,
knowledge integration and public service. The recipients were selected from a pool
of 125 applications.
Giemza, who joined the R-MC faculty in 2008, earned his B.A. at the University of
Notre Dame. He earned his J.D., M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina
at Chapel Hill. In 2011, he received a Smith-Reynolds Founders Fellowship, which
supported his research in the Ernest Hemingway collection at the John F. Kennedy
Library in Boston, Massachusetts.
Giemza’s Lost Colonies: Irish Catholic Writers and the Invention of the American
South is forthcoming from LSU Press. The co-author of Poet of the Lost Cause:
A Life of Father Ryan, he is an award-winning writer in both the academic
and creative spheres. He is currently writing a book about the importance of debts,
valuation and morality in Ernest Hemingway’s short fiction.
“I am moved beyond measure to receive this recognition because I feel I have something
to give back to everyone who gave me a chance,” says Giemza. “I’m very fortunate
to work at a college where I can grow by absorbing lessons from colleagues who are
superior teachers. The award is a direct reflection of the caring students and mentors
that make work meaningful. Their graciousness has made all the difference.”
Giemza’s former students say that he is both “gentle and encouraging” and “passionate
and enthusiastic,” while Megan Moore ’10 cites him as a “professor [who] took my
preconceived notions and turned them upside down.” Giemza’s colleagues describe
him as “a man afire” who “does not sleep much.” Professor Amy Goodwin, chair of
the Department of English, praised his ability to help “students to achieve in their
own lives the kinds of growth and changes in perception that we find in the best
literature.” Giemza draws on literature in describing his teaching philosophy, which
he says aspires to get students to “know something through words that could not
be put in words.”
Giemza is the fifth Randolph-Macon faculty member to win an Outstanding Faculty
Award, and the first to receive the Rising Star distinction. Previous R-MC recipients
include Kelly Lambert (psychology), Wallace
Martin (biology), Michael Wessels (psychology)
and the late Bruce Unger (political science).
Giemza is the first Rising Star recipient whose work is in American literature.
The OFA recipients were recognized during a February 16 ceremony at the Jefferson
Hotel in Richmond. Each recipient received an engraved award and a check underwritten
by the Dominion Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Dominion Resources. Governor
Bob McDonnell lauded the winners.
"This year’s recipients truly represent the Commonwealth’s commitment to excellence
and diversity in its higher education system,” said Governor McDonnell. “The public
service and scholarly contributions of these faculty members are well-known not
only on their respective campuses, but nationally and internationally.”
The OFA program is administered by SCHEV and funded by a grant from the Dominion
Foundation, which has fully supported the OFA program since 2005. SCHEV is the Commonwealth’s
coordinating body for Virginia’s system of higher education.
To view the SCHEV's coverage of Bryan Giemza's award nomination, please click on