In Memory

Bruce Byland

Lehman College mourns the recent death of Professor Bruce Byland of the Department of Anthropology. He was a member of the faculty since 1984, teaching introduction to the subfield of archaeology, as well as courses on the archeology of South America, the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America. 

Respected by his peers and beloved by his students, Professor Byland received the Excellence in Teaching Award last year. He often participated in the Freshman Year Initiative program, and was one of the first members of the faculty to participate in the Writing Across the Curriculum program. His contributions to the program included teaching other instructors at Lehman—as well as elsewhere—about the ways he used writing to teach theoretical concepts, with anthropology as the model. 

In 1999, he led an excavation of an eighteenth-century African burial ground that was uncovered in lower Manhattan. His popular advanced excavation class, "Field and Laboratory Research," often found him and his students at the Jay Heritage Center in Rye, where students experienced a hands-on approach to learning.

Off campus, Professor Byland was involved in a number of innovative teaching endeavors, including volunteer teaching at Bronx and Westchester middle schools and high schools about African-American history from colonial times to the Civil War. He also taught about evolution and archeological topics at Westchester public schools. In addition, he was one of two specialists teaching faculty and graduate students from the United States, Mexico, and other countries about Mixtec archaeology and ethnohistory at the annual Mixtec Gateway Conferences.

Services were held on May 19 at the Zion Memorial Chapel in Mamaroneck. The family plans to establish a scholarship at Lehman in Professor Byland's name.

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10/28/08 10:30 AM #1    

George Satterlee

The wife of Bruce Byland, Cara Tannenbaum, wrote the following memorial for the October 2008 edition of the "Owlmanac," the Rice University Alumni News and Classnotes:

"My husband, Bruce Byland, died May 17, 2008, after an awful and valiant struggle with a head and neck cancer. He was a professor of anthropology at the City University of New York and an active scholar of Mesoamerican archaeology until his untimely death; he was 58. Besides myself, he is survived by our two teenage daughters, Leah and Sophie."

Also noted in the "Owlmanac": Bruce was in ROTC at Rice, and in the summer of 1971 he was the first ROTC student from Rice to attend the ROTC Ranger School instead of the normal ROTC summer camp. Bruce graduated from Rice in 1972 with a BA degree and subsequently earned his PhD.

I (Eric Wehner), knew Bruce from the first grade at Pine Shadows Elementary, 2nd-5th grades at Hollibrook, SW Jr. High, SWSH, and Rice as well. He was always an outstanding student, and I am sure he had one of the highest grade point averages in our class.

12/13/08 01:56 PM #2    

Brent Lamb

Bruce and I worked as life guards at the Dad's Club YMCA for three summers, '67,'68,&'69. He also taught the Red Cross senior life guard course at the Dad's Club. Even in his early years he was teaching! He was excited about starting college at Rice University and as I recall he was going to live on campus at Will Rice College. It was a joy working with him those three summers 40 years ago and sad to know that he didn't survive the cancer that took him at a young age with family left behind. Peace, Brent Lamb.

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