Doctoral Student Dedicates Run to Late Professor

Dec. 2, 2011

Dr. Duane Buhrmester loved exercise and the outdoors, almost as much as he cared about his students. More than a year after his death, his devotion to UT Dallas is still inspiring young people to chase their goals.

Shannon Layman, a doctoral student in UT Dallas’ School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences (BBS), plans to run in the White Rock Half Marathon on Sunday as a tribute to Buhrmester, the late associate dean of BBS. She wants to raise awareness of the Buhrmester Student Development Fund, launched in 2010.

Shannon Layman

This will be the second year that Shannon Layman has run the White Rock Half Marathon in honor of Dr. Duane Buhrmester.

This is the second year that Layman is running the half-marathon in tribute to Buhrmester, and she’s hoping to get other BBS students, staff and faculty to join her. She will jog 13.1 miles in the event.

Buhrmester and his wife, Linda, died in a hiking accident in southern Colorado in July 2010. He spent 20 years at UT Dallas and was a highly respected researcher and teacher. Buhrmester’s research in recent years centered on social development during middle childhood and adolescence.

“Over the summer a few of the BBS faculty members asked me if I was planning on running the half marathon again in December,” said Layman, whose doctoral work focuses on music cognition. “It was at that point that I realized how important this run was, not just for the Buhrmester fund but for everyone in BBS.”

The Buhrmester development fund is intended to provide resources to aid students with professional development. Giving undergraduate students opportunities to meet with alumni or hear from employers about necessary skills should better prepare them for the big leap into the real world.

In his administrative role, Buhrmester worked closely with undergraduate and graduate students. “He was like an ‘undergraduate whisperer,’ Layman said. “He took time to help students through more than just class. He didn't just teach students, he mentored them.”

Layman didn’t take any classes from Buhrmester, but she saw him on a daily basis around Green Hall and often chatted with him during workouts at the UT Dallas gym. She notes that he always ran much faster than she did on their respective treadmills.

“Running for the Buhrmesters at White Rock allows the faculty, staff and students of BBS to come together and keep alive Dr. Buhrmester's drive to help undergraduates succeed,” Layman said. “He was an important part of BBS, and he is missed. It was the least I could do.”

BBS already has received about $16,000 in donations to the Buhrmester fund since its establishment. The goal is $20,000. To learn more about the fund, visit the BBS web site.

Media Contact: Emily Martinez, UT Dallas, (214) 905-3049, [email protected]
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected]
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Dr. Duane Buhrmester

Dr. Duane Buhrmester was a professor and mentor to students in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences for more than 20 years.


The Buhrmester family

An enthusiasm for the outdoors was a passion Dr. Buhrmester shared with his wife, Linda Buhrmester, and two sons.

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May 21, 2018