Pitt Scholars & Stewards: Keeping Alive a Legacy

Issue Date: 
June 7, 2010
Lars JohnsonLars Johnson

Lars Johnson maintains a disciplined schedule that includes 5:30 a.m. wake ups for Pitt Crew team practices. Named Pitt Crew team captain his freshman year, he now serves as the team’s business manager. These leadership roles, coupled with his dual major in applied math and economics, have made Johnson a perfect candidate for the Allan McLeod Bryson Merit Scholarship.

The scholarship is named in honor of longtime Pitt math faculty member, the late Allan McLeod Bryson (ENGR ’26, A&S ‘31G), and was created by Bryson’s son Michael (A&S ’68) and daughter-in-law Kathryn (EDUC ’68), both of whom have strong ties to the University. Michael Bryson is a member of the Pitt Board of Trustees and a director emeritus of the University’s Alumni Association. He is the retired executive vice president of The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation and CFO of Mellon Financial Corporation, which he served prior to its merger with The Bank of New York. Kathryn Bryson is a director-at-large of Pitt’s Alumni Association. The Brysons also support the Panther Club Athletic Scholarship Fund, the Heinz Chapel Angels, and the Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg University Chair.

The Allan McLeod Bryson Merit Scholarship was created to support School of Arts and Sciences students in the University Honors College who major in mathematics or the physical sciences.

“My father gave up a career as a chemical engineer and also the opportunity to play professional baseball to return to the University and pursue his graduate degree in mathematics and a career in teaching,” Michael Bryson explained.

“Students were a very important part of his life, and he spent many years as the advisor to all Pitt’s mathematics majors. He was quoted in the 1967 Owl as saying, ‘It has always been one of the rewards of college teaching that you meet the nicest young people.’  It seemed only fitting to establish a scholarship in his name to support young students such as Lars.”

During the summers, Johnson runs a landscaping business to help with college expenses. He had initially intended to continue working at least part-time during the school year, but the Bryson Scholarship has allowed him to concentrate full-time on academics and the activities he loves.

A native of New Freedom, Pa., Johnson will begin his junior year in the fall. He wasted no time getting involved on campus. He joined Pitt’s math club and recently started a knitting club with other Pitt Crew team members. Math has always fascinated him, and he said he enjoys the academic rigor and detail of his college courses.

“I’m extremely grateful to be a recipient of the scholarship,” Johnson said.