Kerry Bruns, Professor of Chemistry
Professor of Chemistry Kerry Bruns has been a quiet leader on campus throughout the years, helping students pursue their goals and dreams of becoming medical professionals. “Kerry was, and is, diligent working with his research students,” says colleague Southwestern Director of General Chemistry Labs Willis Weigand. “He is deeply involved with the students’ work and is demanding because he knows the importance of the research but is willing to help the students as much as needed so that they are successful.” He and his students have presented their work at many national and regional meetings of leading scientific societies, and he has published three articles with student co-authors in respected journals.
Described as consistently approachable, respectful, and willing to listen and help, Bruns received his Ph.D. from New Mexico State University in 1987 and his B.A. from Western New Mexico University in 1981. He is affiliated with the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the American Chemical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Society for Cell Biology, the Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society, the Texas Association for Advisors of the Health Professions, and the Council on Undergraduate Research. At Southwestern, his primary teaching responsibilities are general chemistry and biochemistry courses.
What many people may not know is that Bruns has also long been in charge of Southwestern’s Pre-Medical Advisory Committee, which provides professional-development programming and handles all the applications, recommendations, and committee interviews for any SU student or graduate interested in applying to medical school. Director of Academic Success Dave Seiler observes, “Kerry has been selfless in his time and devotion to our students. … [His] involvement with the pre-med program perfectly illustrates his commitment to not only our students but the betterment and well-being of humanity. His pride and goal [are] seeing our students not only receive a top-notch science education but also develop into the medical professionals of tomorrow.”
Outside of teaching and chairing the Pre-Med Advisory Committee, one of the other major responsibilities Bruns has taken on is organizing the Health Care Professionals Breakfast held at Homecoming each year. This successful event provides current students valuable opportunities to connect with our alumni.
Maria Kruger ’91 says fondly, “He is very deserving of this recognition.” Weigand agrees, adding that Bruns’s deep commitment to SU students and alumni is genuinely selfless: “Kerry is the type of person we all know [who] doesn’t go about doing things for show. [He] does what needs to be done in a way that doesn’t necessarily bring notoriety to him but helps the University or those with whom he interacts.”
Bruns is retiring at the end of the year, and his pre-med and chemistry students will miss his supportive presence on campus. Seiler says, “Kerry’s retiring will leave a void not only in the Chemistry Department and the Garey School of Natural Sciences but across the campus as a whole. A lot of what he does is ‘under the radar,’ and his impact on our community may not be truly appreciated until the time comes to fill his spot(s) in his many roles on campus.”
In celebration of the unabiding appreciation and respect former students and colleagues have for Professor Kerry Bruns, the Southwestern University Alumni Association presents him with the 2018 Mr. Homecoming Award.