Retired? You wouldn't know that Dr. Erza (Bud) Brown retired in 2017. The Alumni Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Mathematics continues to write and this year received two Mathematical Association of America (MAA)  awards for Expository Mathematical Writing in MAA Publications for 2022!

The first award, the George Polya Award, established in 1976, is named after the renowned teacher and writer, and is given for articles of expository excellence published in The College Mathematics Journal. Ezra (Bud) Brown and Adrian Rice received the award for their article “Why Hamilton Couldn’t Multiply Triples.” 

The second, the Chauvenet Prize is given for an outstanding article on a mathematical topic. It was first awarded in 1925, making it the first award established by the Mathematical Association of America The Prize is named for William Chauvenet, a professor of mathematics at the United States Naval Academy. It was established through a gift in 1925 from J.L. Coolidge, then MAA President. Winners of the Chauvenet Prize are among the most distinguished of mathematical expositors. The winning article, “Five Families Around a Well: A New Look at an Old Problem,” was written by Ezra (Bud) Brown and Matthew Crawford.

Over his career, Dr. Brown has received eight National MAA awards. When asked if he held the record for number of awards, Bud said that there was one person who has received nine! It would not be surprising to see Bud surpass that count in the near future.

His enthusiasm for writing and teaching can be best described by Bud himself, in this excerpt from his personal statement,  (December 2004): 

To show the beauty, power, elegance and interconnectedness of mathematics to fellow mathematicians, students, and the lay public is a passion and a pleasure of mine. It is a joy to tell or write about something that obviously matters, and to have the audience so drawn in that it begins to matter to them, too.

Peter Haskell, the Interim Chair, reflected on Bud's time in the department, saying,

When passion and talent align, great things happen. Generations of students and faculty members are grateful that Bud spent 48 years honing his craft at Virginia Tech. He has been retired for five years, but he hasn't slowed down. He drops by the department from time to time, and it's always a pleasure to see him.

The Mathematics Department congratulates Bud and is proud to call him one of our own!

Dr. Brown's additional National & Regional Awards, as well as his numerous Virginia Tech awards are listed below.


  • Alumni Distinguished Professorship, 2005; reappointed, 2015

  • Commencement Address, University Commencement Exercises, Fall 2003

  • ODK G. Burke Johnston Award for Teaching Excellence, 2000

  • Upsilon Pi Epsilon National Computer Science Honor Society, 1999

  • Academy of Teaching Excellence, 1998

  • William E. Wine Award for Excellence in Teaching, 1998

  • MAA Student Chapter Outstanding Professor Award, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2016

  • Edward S. Diggs Teaching Scholar Award, 1997

  • College of Arts and Sciences Certificate of Teaching Excellence, 1991