A Professor's Death Ripples Outward

When a star professor at Emory University died, his department had to regroup as it mourned

A Professor's Death Ripples Outward 1

Emory Photo

Rudolph Bryd (left), a scholar of American and African-American literature, the civil-rights movement, and gender studies at Emory U., organized forums, advised dissertation students, and wrote letters of recommendation right up until his death, in October 2011.

The stage was set, thanks to Rudolph P. Byrd.

On a winter evening at Emory University's campus here, CNN aimed its cameras as about 900 professors, students, and local residents filed into an auditorium. They came to see a panel of journalists and activists engage in a spirited discussion about political uprisings in the Arab world, part of a series of forums on civic and international issues that Mr. Byrd, an Emory professor for two decades, had created.

But on this day, Mr.