In Memoriam: Peter Bryan

You are here

Monday, November 16, 2020


The Lehigh community mourns the loss of Peter Bryan, IT Systems Manager in the ATLSS Engineering Research Center. Peter was a 32-year employee of the University.  In addition to his work duties, Peter also served on ERAC and the High-Performance Computing Group. Our condolences go out to the Bryan family. 

Chad Kusko and Richard Sause shared some of their remembrances of Peter, his dedication to Lehigh, and his legacy with The Spot. More remembrances of Peter can be read and shared here.

I spent a week with Peter organizing and running the operations of an international engineering conference in Philadelphia in 2010. The operations team was small so there was plenty to do to support the hundreds of conference registrants.  I honestly am not sure if Peter slept that week.  When the conference ended each day, Peter was still putting out fires in an effort to help the attendees as I turned in for the night.  When I arrived the next morning, Peter was at the registration area putting out more fires, as if he never left.  After the closing ceremony, a few of us from the operations team went out for a celebratory dinner.  Exhausted from the week, I was grateful we made it through.  Peter looked at me and said “That was fun.  We should do it again.”   That sums up Peter as an employee – talented, dedicated, flexible, helpful, friendly, and engaging.  -- Chad Kusko

Peter met me at the airport when I traveled to Lehigh to interview for a faculty position 32 years ago.  He was friendly and immediately made me feel comfortable.  For 32 years, this was a role he embraced; a welcoming presence and an ambassador for the ATLSS Center and Lehigh.  Since Peter passed away, we have seen an outpouring of response from present and former ATLSS graduate students about the immensely positive effect he had on their experience at Lehigh.  Ever helpful and kind, he connected with students, helping them with both work and personal issues, or simply by being a friend.  For faculty and staff, he would tackle any problem, big or small, with relentless optimism. Peter’s positive impact on the ATLSS Center and Lehigh is immeasurable, since his generosity made it impossible to reckon all that he did for so many people.  -- Richard Sause

Peter’s job description would highlight that he was responsible for the IT Systems at ATLSS.  Peter performed those responsibilities admirably over his 32-year career.  What you won’t find in his position description is the myriad of other things that Peter would do to support ATLSS, its faculty, staff, and students.  You would find Peter giving a tour to an interested industry partner or prospective student, leading a group of K-12 students as part of an outreach activity, hanging cameras around ATLSS to capture video of an imminent test program, or helping a faculty or graduate student find a solution for a random question that they aren’t sure how to address. These are just a few examples.  Everyone was comfortable going to Peter for help, because his demeanor was welcoming and his perspective was engaging.  

Lehigh University, and ATLSS, are better places, and the associated faculty, staff, and students, are better people, for having had Peter around the Center for 32 years.  We’ll miss his smile, his desire to help, and his love for Lehigh University, its students, staff, and faculty. -- Chad Kusko