I remember the day last year as we were getting ready to go to Mexico when Dr. Bryner told us he had been diagnosed with cancer and wouldn't be able to make the trip. It stunned me, just as it did when I got the email last week that he had decided to stop treatment, and just like it did when I heard of his passing this week. He was an incredibly smart and accomplished man, but to me, he will always be the humble professor who made the best chocolate cookies and quietly cared so much for his students. The classes I took from him pushed me to change my thinking and attitude towards international development and life in general.
From his obituary: "Over years of teaching, he inspired a great many students from varied backgrounds to believe in their abilities to make a difference. ... His kindness, gentleness, patience, and love for each person he encountered are his legacy to all who know him.
I last saw Dr. Bryner last summer when he gave me a big hug after hearing about our Guatemala adventures-- a trip I'm sure he would have loved to be on. This summer, alum from the sociology and development study abroad will construct a greenhouse in Dr. Bryner's honor in rural Mexico. I couldn't think of a more fitting tribute for a man who loved to help the world, one individual at a time.