West Texas A&M University

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Byron Pearson Bio
Dr. Byron Pearson

Byron Pearson, J.D., Ph.D.

Professor of History

Office: Old Main, Room 324 A
Email: bpearson@wtamu.edu
Phone: 806-651-2430

Professional Profile

Dr. Pearson earned his Ph.D. in American history from the University of Arizona in 1998 and joined the faculty at West Texas A&M University in 2000 as an assistant professor of history, having turned from the "dark side" of the practice of law.  In 2006, he earned tenure, was promoted to associate professor, and served as history department head from January of 2008 to July of 2013. Promoted to full professor in 2014, he has happily returned to teaching full time.

Teaching and Related Service

Dr. Pearson teaches American history courses on the Gilded Age, Progressive Era, American West, U.S. environmental history and Native American history.  He has received twenty-five teaching awards in his career including the WTAMU University Teaching Excellence Award in 2004. The WTAMU Faculty Senate named him the university’s Magister Optimus in 2009. Dr. Pearson believes strongly in bringing history to the public and he has recently organized commemorations of the WWI centennial and annual thematic lectures centered upon the rare texts of the Remnant Trust.

Research and Creative Activity

Dr. Pearson believes that true professional historians must continue to research and write because publishing and teaching excellence go hand-in-hand. His first book, Still the Wild River Runs: Congress the Sierra Club and the Fight to Save Grand Canyon: 1963-1968, was published by the University of Arizona Press in 2002. Dr. Pearson has published more than twenty-five scholarly articles and book reviews in academic journals such as Forest History Today, Western Historical Quarterly, and The Pacific Historical Review. His second book, Saving Grand Canyon, the Dam Fights of the 20th Century and Why They Still Matter Today, is under contract with the University of Nevada Press and, pending final approval, will be published in 2019, the centennial year of Grand Canyon National Park.

Personal Sketch

Dr. Pearson is a native of Arizona and his views of the western environment and its water resources have been deeply influenced by its deserts, mountains, and, especially, its canyons. He is married to Kim Engel-Pearson, Ph.D., who is also a western environmental historian and between them they have four college-aged kids. His youth coaching days behind him, Dr. Pearson can be found dabbling in blues slide guitar, classical piano, poking away at two additional book projects, and haunting the trout streams of the Sangre de Cristos with light fly tackle.