Professor Spotlight: Gregory Pryor



Gregory Pryor, professor of biology, outlines his multi-faceted life in dazzling detail.

Acknowledging his love for all things outdoors at an early age, Gregory Pryor, professor of biology at FMU, knew he wanted to live a lifestyle that allowed him to have a flexible schedule to pursue his extensive list of hobbies.

“Regardless of discipline, I think being a professor is like the greatest job, really, at least for me,” Pryor said. “I have paperwork to do, but a lot of that I can take home. When you see a professor at three in the afternoon mowing their lawn, they might have three hours of work to do when the sun sets, but at least you get that flexibility in your schedule that a lot of people do not have.”

Born and raised in a rural town in upstate New York, Pryor initially wanted to be a birdwatcher. For a short period, he was a naturalist for the Nature Conservancy in New York, where he led birdwatching trips throughout the summer. Although Pryor loved the job, it did not pay well; so, when the company offered to promote him after receiving his master’s degree, he jumped on the opportunity. Little did he know, going back to school would lead him on a completely different career path than what he originally planned.

“I got my master’s degree, and then I continued to my Ph.D. because you need a Ph.D. to be a biology professor,” Pryor said. “I knew towards the last year or two of my schooling that I wanted to be a professor, and so I started doing teaching assistantships.”

Following graduate school, Pryor worked for a year as an adjunct professor at the University of Florida, where his passion for teaching was solidified. During his short time at UF, he was awarded the 2003-2004 Faculty of the Year Award for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

“That was such a surprise and such a huge honor,” Pryor said. “I think the reason for that was because I was really bringing technology into the classroom and a lot of the professors were still using overhead projectors and chalkboards. And I was young, so I related to the students really easily.”

When the time came for him to begin searching for a permanent teaching position, he knew he wanted to stay in the south, have a large piece of land and work for a smaller university that emphasized teaching.

“I ended up getting 130 acres of land here,” Pryor said. “I love it. I have goats, chickens, dogs, cats, lots of gardens, a small vineyard where I do wine-making and a big pond where I can go fishing.”

One of the most exciting accomplishments of Pryor’s career thus far is a 24-episode video series for a college-level online platform called The Great Courses, for which he wrote, filmed, hosted and composed the soundtrack. The series focuses on life on the farm, but it goes into depth about the biology of daily farm processes. The project took two years to create, but it is one that Pryor is extremely proud of.


Along with the responsibilities that come with being a university professor, Pryor has also added several other accomplishments to his resume. He currently writes a monthly column for The Morning News, has numerous peer-reviewed publications, runs a successful YouTube channel and had the experience of being featured in an art gallery on campus.

“I do not have kids; I do not know if that’s relevant to anything,” Pryor said. “I am married. But you would be surprised how much more free time you have when you do not have kids and you are done with school.”

Pryor said his accomplishments are a series of luck and hard work, but his passion for teaching others and love for the subject of biology has made everyathing worth it.

“It is simply that I want to challenge myself, learn from it and then teach others,” Pryor said. “And that really seems to come through at school, on my YouTube channel and in my newspaper articles.”