Prof. Bryan and the Dreaded Snowman

In the early days of the University of Maryland’s Department of Fire Protection Engineering, the Department founder and first Chairman – John L. Bryan, PhD affectionately known as “Prof” – was a great mentor and inspiration to every student. He was known for his candor and his amazing memory (he could recall EVERY graduate, when they graduated, and where they were employed). So if you ever submitted a homework assignment, pyrometrics laboratory report, or answer on an exam where Prof thought you were bluffing, you would find the dreaded Snowman at the top of your paper. This symbol indicated that Prof saw right through your attempt to “snow him” or do a “snow job” and therefore you failed at that effort. A Snowman from Prof came complete with snow coming down at a 45 degree angle and with plenty of laughs and finger pointing from your fellow classmates (or at least that’s what we have been told since we won’t admit to ever having received a Snowman!).

One of Prof's Famous Snowmen.