I was really happy to hear about the presentation of Betsy Bryan’s Festschrift in Florence during the International Congress of Egyptologists in August. Betsy Bryan is the Alexander Badawi Professor of Egyptian Art and Archaeology at John Hopkins University. Richard Jasnow and Kara Cooney were able to organise in the past three years to have a book dedicated to her: they asked Betsy’s friends to each write an article in her honour. I wrote about our research on the family of Tutankhamun and the causes of the Boy King’s death.
I met Betsy when we were young. She came to visit Giza recommended by Prof. William Kelly Simpson and we have been friends ever since. Betsy is an incredible person—she has been an inspiration to many students at John Hopkins University and her research at the Temple of Mut at Karnak is outstanding.
Kara and Richard worked very hard to be able to publish this book and introduce it to her in front of all her colleagues in Florence. Unfortunately I was not able to share this great moment with Betsy as I was giving lectures in the US at the time, but many of her friends were present. During the Q&A after her lecture, Richard asked a pseudo-question and then launched into a short speech. Kara then presented to Betsy an actual printed copy of the book, called “Joyful in Thebes”. Richard told me that there was a truly moving standing ovation for Betsy at this point—totally deserved!
I am sure Betsy had tears in her eyes, tears of love and gratitude for her friends and colleagues. I will organise a big party for her when she comes to Egypt so she can see again how much everyone loves her.