Dr. Brown is one of six Presidential Professors for Teaching Excellence in the College of Science and the fourth recipient of Texas A&M University's most prestigious award for teaching performance from the Department of Chemistry.


Dr. Lawrence S. Brown, instructional assistant professor of chemistry, has been recognized with the 2013 Presidential Professor for Teaching Excellence Award, the most prestigious faculty honor bestowed by Texas A&M University in recognition of classroom performance.

Brown was feted along with Dr. Helen Reed, professor of aerospace engineering in the Dwight Look College of Engineering, with the award, announced by Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin.

"Dr. Brown and Dr. Reed personify the teaching qualities that we value so highly at Texas A&M -- caring for students, being dedicated and innovative and being leaders in their fields," Loftin said. "They join a growing number of distinguished faculty who have had bestowed on them this special designation -- the university's highest form of recognition for teaching excellence."

The prestigious award, established in 2003 by former Texas A&M President Robert M. Gates to underscore the importance of teaching at a major research university, provides for presentation each spring of two Presidential Professor for Teaching Excellence Awards, each with a $25,000 stipend that includes the title of "Presidential Professor for Teaching Excellence" -- a designation retained by the recipient for the remainder of his or her career. The two professors selected each year are formally introduced at the university's spring commencement ceremonies at which their respective colleges will award degrees.

Brown has been a member of the Texas A&M Department of Chemistry faculty since 1988. Colleagues describe him as an extraordinarily gifted teacher and an early adopter of both innovative teaching methods and delivery, including online homework assignments and televised lectures which debuted on local cable channels and now are available worldwide on iTunesU. In addition, his expertise in educational practices helped reshape the freshman engineering curriculum at Texas A&M and make it a national model.

Three of his students wrote in support of his nomination: "If the world of chemistry were to be described as a galaxy, then Dr. Larry Brown would definitely be the North Star. His effervescent teaching style, open-door policy, beaming personality and genuine love for teaching certainly make him shine brightly in the eyes of those who are fortunate enough to be enrolled in his class."

A colleague noted that, "Through his unique combination of intellect, effort, skill and personality, Dr. Brown not only inspires students to excel, but also provides them with the help they need to do so."

He was involved in the Foundation Coalition project that restructured Texas A&M's undergraduate engineering curriculum. The chemistry course he developed for engineering majors has been adopted by many other top universities, and the textbook he wrote has become a market leader for such courses.

Brown earned a B.S. degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic University and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Princeton University, all in chemistry. Since coming to Texas A&M, he has received several college- and university-level awards for teaching.

Nominations for the Presidential Professor awards are made by students, faculty members and deans in each of the university's colleges and schools. Faculty Senate representatives review each nomination and narrow the list that is sent to the president for the final selections.

Brown is the sixth College of Science faculty member to merit the coveted honor since its inception in 2003, the same year in which physics professor and fellow Foundation Coalition project member William H. Bassichis earned selection as one of the award's two inaugural recipients. Brown's fellow chemistry professors David E. Bergbreiter, the late John L. Hogg and Dr. Wendy L. Keeney-Kennicutt also received the honor in 2006, 2007 and 2009, respectively. In 2012, mathematics professor Dr. Harold P. Boas became the first recipient in the Department of Mathematics' history.


Contact: Lane Stephenson, Division of Marketing & Communications, (979) 845-4662 or l-stephenson@tamu.edu

Stephenson Lane

  • Texas A&M College of Science Dean Dr. H. Joseph Newton (pictured at podium) surprised Dr. Brown Monday (Apr. 1) in his Heldenfels Hall classroom with his award announcement.

  • April Fools?

    Dean Newton was accompanied by Brown's wife, fellow chemistry professor Dr. Sherry J. Yennello, who noted with amusement that at least one student questioned the validity of an award presented on April Fool's Day!

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